Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ag Football Recap: Mizzou Takes What They're Given - a 34-27 win

In the middle of our three game stretch of Tiger hunting, we laid an egg.

We gave up 587 yards to Missouri.   587 yards.  I can't get past that.

That is 257 yards ABOVE their season average.

This is a team that had 394 yards against South Dakota State.  They had 325 yards against Toledo.  They had 322 yards against South Florida.

The gashed us on the ground for 335 yards with Russell Hansbrough setting a career high 199 yards with 2 TDs.  He was averaging 66 yards per game.  He only had 591 yards on the season as their leading rusher.

It was the third quarter that did us in.  Missouri ran 28 plays and had 308 yards (11 yards per snap) and 28 points.  That's 17 fewer yards than they had in their entire game against Toledo.  Toledo?  Toledo!

That had to be the worst quarter of defense I've ever seen.  The only things I can think of might be '03 OU, the Bama game from a few weeks ago - but those were against elite teams.  Maybe Utah in '03 - they ran over and over and over against us....but I don't think they had 300 yards in a quarter.

We couldn't get off the field - Missouri converted 14-of-24 third downs (58%) and also converted on a fourth down as well.

In our defense, and this is the best defense that occured on Saturday, Myles Garrett and Ivan Robinson missed the game due to injury.  There were whispers of a possible concussion during practice for MG, and then later rumors that it was back spasms.  No clue.

What I do know is that we missed him DESPERATELY.  We got very little pressure on Maty Mauk, and no pressure on their OL.  There is no question in my mind that if Myles Garrett had suited up, we would have won that game.

We also lost starting linebackers, Otaro Alaka and Josh Walker at the end of the second quarter (Walker will miss the LSU game and likely the bowl game with a broken foot) and then Shaan Washington for a portion of the 3rd quarter.  Washington still finished with a team high 10 tackles.  Ivan Robinson was also clearly banged up but with the other injuries he played through it.

Still, our backups shouldn't be 200-300 yards worse than the starters on South Dakota State, Toledo, or South Florida.  That is staggering.

Even after all of that, we somehow still had a chance.  As the third quarter wound down, we were down 34-20.  We managed a 12 play drive that ended with a 4 yard Malcome Kennedy TD reception, bringing the score back to 34-27.

On Mizzou's next drive, they had to settle for a 49 yard FG attempt and it clanked off the right upright giving us the ball back with 5:30 remaining in the game.  We started working it with our running backs...Tra Carson runs for 3...then Allen hits him for a 10 yard gain....then an offsides....then Trey Williams runs for 5 yards, but fumbles and we recover 11 yards downfield....they Allen hits Speedy for 13 yards to get us to 1st & 10 from the 11 yard line.  We throw one away and then Allen hits RSJ for 9 yards to put us in a 3-1 from the 2 yard line.

We need one yard to get a first down for four more chances from one yard out.  We line up in a shotgun with Brandon Williams and run a draw.  He gets completely stuffed as soon as he gets the handoff.  Then on 4th & 1we roll right towards the near sideline and throw back across to Cam Clear who gets stuffed for a loss of one.  Ball game.

I didn't understand either of those playcalls.
  • Why is Brandon Williams out there instead of Tra Carson in the goalline package?
  • Why are we running out of a standard shotgun - if you're going to run, line up and either pound it for the one yard, or run a QB sneak
  •  I would have, at least on one of the plays, lined up with Pope, RSJ, Speedy, and Josh Reynolds and if no one can get open let Allen scramble.
So frustrating that we let that one get away.  Without Johnny's poise & scrambling ability, this sort of situation has become very difficult for us.  We were just 4-of-14 on 3rd downs (29%) which is a trend that has hampered us during all four of our losses.

I did think that Allen played better than the two previous weeks and Armani Watts at safety had a great game, including another INT.
Josh Reynolds also tied the school record with his 13th TD of the season - he had 125 yards and 2 TDs on the night.  He has, overall, had a really nice season.

That game was very un-Sumlin.  We usually win those types of games - but no matter what, you can't get shredded like that on defense.  That was putrid.

We have an off weekend coming up before our Thanksgiving night match up with LSU, who has taken a bit of a dive of late.  The lost to Bama two weeks ago in another epic LSU/Bama game and then dropped one to Arkansas this past weekend, allowing Arkansas their first SEC victory in 18 tries.

LSU's running game still scares the ever living out of me, especially after what Hansbrough did to us.  Their defense will also be the best defense, by far, that Kyle Allen will try to crack.  Hopefully, Sumlin can get this 3 game LSU losing streak to end.

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