Mizzou Gameday at the Texas Bowl:
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2:27 - Alright, Culvers in the belly ... let's do this!! I'm not sure why I still insist on liveblogging the football games when the comments threads are so good, but I'm nothing if not a creature of habit.
2:29 - So I've found the one thing that will make my wife root against OU (where she attended for two years): picking against them in a bowl pool she's leading. Suddenly she's a big-time Stanford fan.
2:30 - Damn. I was going out of my way to avoid looking at who was calling our game because I feared it was Mark Jones. It's Mark Jones. I LOVED him about 12-15 years ago. Not so much now.
2:36 - And here we go ... Mizzou to receive ... and Jasper Simmons fights for some nice extra yardage. Another nice return from #9, and Mizzou will start near their 40.
2:37 - Hey, hey! It's an Andrew Jones sighting!! Only went for three yards, but ... we threw to the tight end!!
2:38 - Okay, pro scouts and All-America voters: ARE YOU FREAKING WATCHING THIS NOW? DO WE HAVE YOUR ATTENTION? Second play of the game: 58-yard catch and run by Danario Alexander on the screen. HE DOES THIS EVERY GAME. HE IS THE BEST RECEIVER IN THE COUNTRY, AND HE HAS BEEN FOR A WHILE. 7-0 Mizzou.
2:39 - That felt good. It also revealed quite the wellspring of bitterness, didn't it?
2:40 - After a short kickoff return, Navy will start at their 24. Navy audibles ... into an option. Uhh, what was the original call? Nine yard gain, followed by a 5-yarder in the other direction. First down, Navy.
2:42 - Dobbs to pass? Huh. The secondary is as stunned as I am, and it's a 15-yard gain. Navy's band is really close to the mics ... and off-key, it seems. That's going to get old.
2:43 - Alright, so apparently Navy is allowed extra time ... play clock goes to zero, but Navy gets an 8-yard run anyway.
2:44 - After Dobbs takes a shot into the endzone (incomplete), it's 3rd-and-2 ... and a nice student-body left pitch for the first down. Their best quarter is Q1. That's what I'm reminding myself right now. Navy to the Mizzou 19.
2:45 - Ball on the ground! Marcus Malbrough recovers! Mizzou ball! Dobbs waited too long to rip the ball out of the fullback's belly and lost the ball. I'll take it!
2:49 - Three plays by Mizzou, three dinks-and-dunks, 70+ yards. This one goes to Derrick Washington for a first down.
2:50 - After a dropped pass by Perry that was almost picked off (I'll blame that one on nerves/rust), De'Vion Moore (who Mark Jones calls "Da-Wann") gets about four yards, setting up Mizzou's first third down of the game...
2:51 - ...and Gabbert can't find an open receiver and runs for no gain. Mizzou to punt. Navy dodges a bullet.
2:52 - Ho hum, another 51-yard punt downed inside the 10 by Jake Harry. Mark Jones calls him "Blake Harry." Come on, dude.
2:52 - Five-man front by Mizzou, and a Dobbs sneak is stuffed for a yard. On second down, Dobbs completes a 7-yard pass. Nice tackle by Carl Gettis, but 3rd-and-3 is obviously quite makeable for this offense. And apparently my computer's spell check tells me "makeable" isn't a word. And while I typed that, Vince Murray, the absolute stereotypical fullback, bulled forward for a first down.
2:55 - Navy's succeeding with the quick toss type of plays. This one goes for another first down. Navy to their 34.
2:55 - After another nice gain on the pitch, second-and-short sees an option keeper by Dobbs. Somebody (Spoon?) overplays the outside, and Dobbs cuts inside for a big gain. Shoestring tackle by Kenji Jackson saves a touchdown. Navy to the Mizzou 33.
2:57 - I was really hoping we'd stop the run without having to bring the safeties too far up, but uhh ... not so far. Another pitch for six, followed by a leap for first down. And just like that, Navy's back into the Mizzou redzone. Ouch.
2:58 - Five yards for the fullback, followed by a bad pass into the endzone, and it's 3rd-and-5 from the MU 18 ... and Dobbs keeps it up the middle for the first down. This is basically like KU's dink-and-dunk passing, only on the ground. And like I always say, it's hard to maintain that all game long. But if anybody's capable of it, it's Navy.
3:00 - Damn ... Aldon Smith almost got a stop in the backfield but couldn't quite get a handle on the slotback, and it's a 9-yard gain. Navy to the 3 ... and they call timeout.
3:01 - Great. The same "ZZ Top thinks Houston is great!" commercial that ran 26 times during the Texas Bowl preview show is running again. Have the feeling I'll be seeing that another 117 times today.
3:04 - Short run by Dobbs gets the first down, then a keeper goes nowhere. Second down, but it's just a matter of time...
3:04 - ...and there it is. Touchdown, Dobbs. 7-7. The only thing that has stopped them in two drives is a fumble.
3:09 - Ouch...poor return that time by Simmons (who Jones called "Lawrence" ... because a #9 looks a lot like a #30), and Mizzou will start at their 19.
3:10 - Another quick pass to Alexander, who gets good blocking and goes for another first down. Two catches, 69 yards for the guy who just became Mizzou's all-time receiving yards leader.
3:10 - Um, Blaine? That wasn't fun. A little "decide" play with a run-screen option goes for a loss of five when Blaine forgets that he can just go ahead and throw the ball away. Yikes. Then he throws a bad pass to Washington ... 3rd-and-15. Navy will probably drop 9 into coverage and almost get a pick...
3:11 - ...I swear I typed that before it actually happened. Blaine tries to go over the D, and it's almost picked off. That drive was killed by the bad first-down decision. That said, let's try running the ball next time around. No need to get too tricky.
3:12 - GODDAMMIT, MARK, IT'S JAKE HARRY. NOT BLAKE. LOOK AT YOUR FREAKING SHEET. I BET IT SAYS JAKE. Meanwhile, Harry is disheveled by the mispronunciation too, and his punt checks up at the Navy 40.
3:13 - Damn...Hobbs almost fumbles again but holds on. Five-yard gain to the Navy 44, followed by an easy pass for a first down. Navy to midfield.
3:14 - Jacquies Smith (pronounced "Jacques" by Jones) stops Dobbs for a four-yard gain, and that's the end of the first quarter. Get some rest for the D, and get a new freaking announcer.
3:18 - And the second quarter starts ... with a play-action pass? Will Ebner and Aldon Smith eat Dobbs up, and it's 3rd-and-13. Navy got too fancy there, but I'll take it.
3:19 - Nice! Pitch is eaten up by Jarrell Harrison, and Navy will punt. Nice start to the quarter. Gettis calls fair catch at the 9. Alright, O...relax and play ball. And run a bit.
3:22 - Hey, 42SchoolConnection.com people? Your commercial sucks. Bad. And you're completely whiffing on your target audience by advertising nonstop on ESPN. Just thought you should know.
3:23 - Bob Davie: "Missouri just refuses to run the ball!" Five seconds later, De'Vion Moore gets the handoff. Two carries gets Moore 13 yards. A third run by Moore is lazy...he cuts back too slowly and is stopped for two yards.
3:24 - Ugh...Gabbert throws another inaccurate sideline pass. That's about four on the day, and now it's 3rd-and-8...and Navy will drop nine into coverage again.
3:25 - God, guys. Gabbert throws a dart to Alexander, and it bounces off his hands. I think he thought the nickel back was going to break it up. Actually, on replay the dude did get a fingertip on it. Either way, Mizzou will punt again.
3:26 - Wow, Harry just had a 50-yarder with a hangtime of 0.8 seconds...bounced once and went out of bounds. I'm going to miss that guy.
3:27 - Two short runs, and Navy's quickly got a 3rd-and-3 ... and Dobbs throws? I would NEVER throw on 3rd-and-3 if I were Navy. Ball was a little off-target and dropped. Navy to punt again.
3:28 - Wow...Mizzou comes after Delahooke, who barely gets it off...and uncorks a 47-yarder with great hangtime. Well done, Delahooke. Mizzou to start at their 23.
3:32 - Derrick Washington plows forward for about six yards (Jones said it was three), then an inside screen to Alexander goes for 16. He hits the ground hard and comes out. Mizzou to the 45.
3:33 - Kendial Lawrence goes for three, then Gabbert short-arms it to Mike Egnew. Gabbert has not been sharp so far. Third-and-7. Danario is back on the field.
3:34 - Blaine, you're thinking too much. Or not enough. Not sure. He stares down Danario, who is covered, then waits too long to try to escape the pocket. Second sack of the game for Navy, and Mizzou will punt. Harry's boot is fair-caught at the Navy 18.
3:37 - Did Mark Jones just pronounce Quantico "Quan-TEE-Co"? Seriously?
3:38 - Woah...Dobbs is rocked by Dominique Hamilton and is BARELY down before pitching the ball on a reverse. The reverse would have gone for about 50, but instead it's a 3-yard loss.
3:39 - Of course, Navy gets about ten of it back on second down. Option pitch gets the first down and then some. Navy to the 37.
3:40 - Navy is also overthinking things and passing too much, I think. Dobbs throws into the dirt on first down, closer to Gettis and Harrison than a Navy guy. Then again, when you get 1! yards on a second-down option, you can take chances on first down. Oh goodie, now Gettis is holding his knee. Fun. Simmons is pissed, saying Gettis was chop-blocked.
3:42 - Well, i was right about one thing -- the slotback doesn't get the ball as much as the QB and the fullback, but their runs go for more yards. Another option pitch, another first down.
3:43 - Fullback is stuffed on first down, but a misdirection pitch gets nine yards ... but there's a flag down ... um, do you want to tell me what the penalty was? No? Davie decides to talk about how few penalties Navy gets, and nobody actually says what the penalty was. It's 2nd-and-12, so apparently it was on Navy. Thanks.
3:45 - Jarrell Harrison makes a nice open-field tackle on second down, but a dump off to Finnerty gets about 8 on 3rd-and-10. I'm sure Navy will go for it. Yup, they are...
3:46 - ...DAMN. Jasper Simmons misses a tackle in the backfield, and Navy gets the first down. That would have been huge. Instead, they're almost certain to go into halftime ahead. (There are 3:00 left in Q2.)
3:47 - First-and-10 from the 27 is an incomplete pass, and a Vince Murray run gets 4. Third-and-6 here ... REALLY need a stop...
3:48 - Um, what? Dobbs gets away from two tacklers in the backfield and breaks into the open. He is stripped between the 2 and 3 yardline, but the side judge calls it a touchdown. Mizzou recovered, and I'm sure this will be overturned by replay, but holy crap ... how do you make that call in the first place? That wasn't even close!
3:50 - Needless to say, if this call stands, just ditch the freaking replay system.
3:52 - "After further review, the ruling on the field stands." But apparently the ruling on the field was fumble. Even though the side judge signaled touchdown. And even though the announcers and production crew thought the ruling was a touchdown and touchback. Whatever, our ball. The officiating crew is apparently trying to compete with Jones/Davie in the "Who sucks the most right now?" competition.
3:53 - Ugh. Holding on Mizzou. First-and-17. Timeout on the field.
3:56 - Okay, apparently Navy is challenging the ruling on the field ... they're saying he fumbled. Thanks for the heads-up, ESPN. Oh wow, yes he did fumble. Davie says you can now recover fumbles after the whistle blew -- you just can't return them. I've always WANTED that rule changed, but I didn't know it had. And for the moment, I HOPE it wasn't changed, though I'm sure Davie's right ... and yes, I just said that.
3:59 - Yup, first down Navy at the 23.
4:00 - A keeper by Dobbs goes nowhere, and GODDAMMIT, MARK JONES, IT'S NOT JACQUES SMITH. WE DON'T HAVE A JACQUES SMITH. YOUR JOB IS NOT THIS HARD. Unless your job is to make Pam Ward seem like a good announcer, in which case a) your job is very hard, and b) you're amazingly good at it.
4:01 - Another pitch goes for another first down. Navy to the 12.
4:01 - Keeper by Dobbs, touchdown. He kept two hands on the ball this time. 14-7, 0:45 left in Q2. Let's just get this freaking half over with.
4:03 - Hey, it's a Munir Prince sighting! He returns the kickoff to about the 35. Mizzou's got all three timeouts left, but going downfield plays into Navy's hands. Am curious what we do here.
4:04 - Hey, it's a Wes Kemp sighting (Jones pronounces it "Kemps")! DeSmet represent! Nineteen yards, and Mizzou's to the 46...
4:04 - Wow...Derrick Washington finds a hole in the deep Navy zone, and it's a 36-yard gain! Mizzou to the 10!
4:05 - Ouch...we thought we'd catch Navy off-guard with a Gabbert keeper. We did not. One-yard loss, and Mizzou calls timeout with 0:13 left.
4:06 - Second-and-goal...ugh! A little behind Danario and dropped. He should have caught that, but it was tough. Third down. Just don't throw a pick. Get a field goal out of this.
4:08 - Good god...Danario is QUINTUPLE-covered, and Blaine throws it at him anyway. Pretty sure somebody had to be open on that one. We're lucky it's just broken up. Ressel will come on for a field goal with 0:05 left. After Niumatalolo calls back-to-back timeouts, anyway.
4:10 - You can't ice Grant Ressel. Ressel nails it, and it's 14-10 at halftime. That was a REALLY annoying half of football.
4:32 - Ahh, that was a fun, relaxing 20 minutes without Jones/Davie (and Mark May and Lou Holtz--I flipped to the Sun Bowl). I'm feeling much better now. First shot is of Danario yawning on the sideline. That's ... a ... good thing?
4:33 - Mizzou to kick off to start Q3 ... and ugh. Some thick white guy just broke a return to near midfield. And Munir Prince came up lame. Exactly how I wanted to start.
4:34 - Keeper by Dobbs goes nowhere on first down, and then he finds Marcus Curry for 6 on second down. Third-and-4. And yes, Mark, I know that Dobbs was a shotgun QB in high school. You've, uhh, mentioned that a couple of times now.
4:36 - Fullback plows forward for three on third down, and I'm sure they'll go for it on 4th-and-1 from the Mizzou 43. Big play, but ... well, you have to figure Navy will convert on 4th-and-1's as well as anybody.
4:37 - Reverse jinx unsuccessful. Quick pitch to Curry gets the first down.
4:37 - Play-action pass goes for 15 yards, and Navy's in field goal range. Not that they kick field goals.
4:38 - Fullback for 11 to the 10. Let us NEVER schedule Navy or Georgia Tech for a home-and-home. EVER.
4:39 - After Curry goes for 8 on first-and-goal, Navy gets a delay-of-game penalty. Our best defensive play of the second half! Second down from the 7.
4:40 - Short pitch on second down, and it's third down from the 3. Pretty sure they're going to score here. Yup. TD pass off the play fake. They've been a step ahead of us all game. 21-10. Plenty of time left, but ... let us NEVER schedule Navy or Georgia Tech.
4:44 - Simmons returns to the 35. Alright, boys. Relax. Just go out and take what they give you, and you'll score.
4:45 - OR ... you can force one downfield and have it intercepted. The one thing you can't do, and Gabbert did it. He has not been this baffled since the Bowling Green game. And now a tiring defense has to keep Mizzou from going down three possessions.
4:46 - Hey, Bob Davie? We have 16 passes and 11 rushes. Say “They REFUSE to run the football” one more time, and I will rip your throat out. We haven't run ENOUGH, but give it a freaking rest.
4:47 - Two nice defensive plays lead to a 3rd-and-9 ... and you MUST get a stop here. Absolutely have to.
4:47 - Nope. Dobbs waits and waits and picks his way to a first down. God. That was our chance.
4:50 - Yadda yadda yadda, Navy's down to the 12.
4:53 - Alright, two short runs lead to a 3rd-and-6 ... and Navy gets five yards. Fourth-and-1, and they'll go for it after a timeout. Of course they'll get it, but this is Mizzou's last chance.
4:56 - Huh. Dobbs fumbles the snap, then basically rams forward for the first down...wait...did he? They're going to measure...
4:56 - No he didn't make it! Huh. First down, Mizzou!
4:58 - Alright, Mizzou's in the shadow of their endzone with one more chance to make this a game. First play: Washington with a nice run. Next two plays: Washington with more nice runs. Then Moore gets a first down. Mizzou to the 35.
4:59 - Wow. WOW. Screen to Kemp, who gets about SIXTY great blocks. He goes all the way from the left sideline to the right sideline and gets all the way to the Navy 9. Holy cow, that was nice. If we somehow end up winning this game, the 4th-down and the screen to Kemp will be remembered as the keys.
5:00 - And of course Davie is patting himself on the back, saying the screen worked because they ran four times. Of course, the screens were working before Mizzou ran at all in the first quarter, but you go right ahead and congratulate yourself.
(And yes, I realize that Davie is mostly right here -- we should have been running more in the first half -- but I'm really getting sick of him pretending we haven't run at all simply because he doesn't understand that a) quick passes to the sideline are basically runs, and b) a run out of the spread is still a run.)
5:01 - First-and-goal: Washington gets to about the 5. Second down: Washington to the 3. Third-and-goal...Mizzou is 0-for-5 on third downs...
5:02 - 0-for-6. Play-action pass, and Kurtis Gregory blocks his man right into Gabbert for the sack. Methinks Blaine dropped back too far. Ressel will kick a field goal to start the fourth quarter. At least he BETTER, as Navy will be sniffing out for fakes.
5:05 - And Ressel's field goal is predictably good. 21-13.
5:08 - UGH. Navy sucks at kick returns, and they STILL get to the 42 on our coverage. Just cannot let Navy start drives near midfield.
5:09 - Heh. Dobbs play-fakes and throws a wheel route. Simmons has perfect coverage but cannot find the ball because it is horribly underthrown, and his man catches it and weaves around him to the Mizzou 10. Awesome. Bob Davie calls it a great pass. Uh huh.
5:13 - After the timeout, Navy blocks the HELL out of Kip Edwards and the perimeter guys, and Marcus Curry walks in for the touchdown. Hate that most of the yards came on a play where we actually had good defense, but ... well, we did let them start near midfield. 28-13, 14:23 left. At least they scored quickly, I guess.
5:15 - Simmons returns to the 30, and now it's time to find out what magic Blaine Gabbert is capable of.
5:17 - After Gabbert runs for 9 yards, Danario takes a bubble screen, breaks a couple of tackles, and ALMOST spins out of the last guy's tackle. Gain of 26 to the Navy 36.
5:18 - Bubble screen to D-Wash for 6, then a quick screen to Rolandis Woodland for a first down. Correction: third and a foot. Gabbert lines up behind center and gets the first down. Mizzou's now 1-for-7 on third downs.
5:20 - Nice, tough running by D-Wash down to the 20 for five, followed by Jared Perry's second drop of the game. Third-and-five. Needless to say, a field goal does you little here. I say you run here and at least try to get 3-4.
5:21 - Nice. D-Wash for 8, picks up the first down.
5:22 - Ugh. Designed sneak for Gabbert is eaten up. 2nd-and-12. Navy blitzed for about the second time all night, and it was perfect timing. Sometimes you're just in a zone making calls.
5:23 - Drop #3 for Perry. Awesome. 3rd-and-12.
5:24 - Fade route to Alexander is caught, but out of bounds. Led him a bit too far. Fourth down. I guess you go for it, but 4th-and-12 is so low-percentage that I'd almost kick. We won't, though.
5:25 - And Gabbert misfires terribly to Jerrell Jackson. Navy ball. Pretty much ballgame.
5:27 - And then Dobbs breaks off a 30-yarder to starter Navy's next possession.
5:29 - Yadda yadda yadda, Navy inside the Mizzou 30. We've stopped the fullback, and the slotback has eaten us alive.
5:32 - Yadda yadda yadda, first-and-goal.
5:34 - Touchdown, Dobbs. 35-13. Wow. I knew we might lose, but I didn't see 35 points coming. Luckily we won't see another triple option offense until at least next year's bowl game, if that. Unless Tech hires Ken Niumatalolo, of course. Which I do NOT endorse.
5:38 - Wes Kemp with a decent return and nice catch. After a pass to Washington, it's first down for Mizzou at the 50 ... and a Gabbert pass goes through Danario's hands. He still had 110 receiving yards today, but this wasn't exactly the ridiculously dominant performance I hoped to see from him, especially after the second play of the game.
5:44 - God bless you, Danario. A nice slant route and series of spin moves gets Mizzou to the 15. Let's see if they can actually score in the red zone...
5:45 - ...nope. Sack. Again.
5:45 - Are you freaking kidding me? Jared Perry drops another freaking pass (sort of), and it bounces off his heel or leg or something, to Wyatt Middleton, who returns it into Mizzou territory. I know sometimes you don't get the breaks, but freaking come on. Meanwhile, Perry has picked a bad time to have the worst game of his life. This is all of the bad moments of his career wrapped into a one-game package.
5:48 - And now I find myself just hoping we keep this at 35-13. Navy's to the 16 with 1:47 left. New quarterback in. Sigh. Just not our day.
5:49 - Victory formation. That'll do it. Regardless of this crap, it's been a fun season. See you next fall for the next live blog.