NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 24: Quarterback James Franklin #1 of the Missouri Tigers scrambles during the first half against the Oklahoma Sooners on September 24, 2011 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma leads Missouri 24-14 at the half. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Oklahoma 38, Mizzou 28
The Trib: With focus back on football, Tigers can’t keep pace with No. 1 OU after hot start
The Trib: GAME NOTES
The Missourian: Oklahoma far superior in its 38-28 win over Missouri
PowerMizzou.com: Fast start, but a disappointing finish
PowerMizzou: Sunday Grade Card
KC Star: No. 1 Oklahoma gets revenge with win over Missouri
KC Star: Missouri’s ho-hum effort vs. Sooners means progress
Daily Oklahoman: Ryan Broyles leads No. 1 Oklahoma to 38-28 win over Missouri
Daily Oklahoman: Sooners scarcely resemble No. 1 team in win over Missouri
An Explosion And A Drought
First three drives: 13 plays, 146 yards (11.2), 14 points
Next nine drives: 47 plays, 206 yards (4.4), 0 points
Final two drives: 17 plays, 162 yards (9.5), 14 points
Even in the moment, we knew after Mizzou exploded for two early touchdowns, Oklahoma was going to adjust. Mizzou was going to have to adjust to the adjustments ... and they really did not. The Sooners over-compensated for Henry Josey on zone reads, and they were fast enough to corral James Franklin after decent but less than explosive gains. Meanwhile, Franklin looked mostly toward his seniors to get Mizzou through a rough patch ... and they mostly failed.
Here are Franklin's passing stats for those nine middle drives: 4-for-19, 84 yards. Here is the target data:
* Passes to Jerrell Jackson: 1-for-5, 25 yards
* Passes to Wes Kemp: 1-for-5, 22 yards
* Passes to T.J. Moe: 2-for-4, 37 yards
* Passes to Michael Egnew: 0-for-1
* Passes to Marcus Lucas: 0-for-1
* Throwaways: 0-for-3
Passes to Jackson, Kemp and Egnew went 2-for-11 for 47 yards during Mizzou's drought. I do love how many sophomores are coming through for the Tigers -- Franklin, Henry Josey, Washington, Lucas (well, he did two games ago, anyway), Andrew Wilson, E.J. Gaines, etc. -- but if Mizzou is going to reach their ceiling over the last eight games, whatever that may be, seniors are going to have to follow Luke Lambert's lead and raise their game.
Jaz Reynolds Was The Key
I will be recycling this tidbit for tomorrow's Numerical at the mothership, but...
Oklahoma Drives In Which Jaz Reynolds Had A Reception: 5 drives, 320 yards (8.0 per play), 21 points (4.2 per poss.)
Other Oklahoma Drives: 8 drives, 45 plays, 278 yards (6.2), 17 points (2.1 per poss.)
With Kenny Stills and Trey Franks out, Mizzou was able to manage Oklahoma's other weapons reasonably well. Ryan Broyles clearly got his catches, and Dom Whaley did some interesting things out of the backfield, but still, Mizzou held a strong offense mostly in check. But when Reynolds stepped up after a shaky first quarter, Mizzou was officially saturated. OU had too many weapons for the Tigers to stop at that point, and they coasted.
There is some context here, obviously -- Reynolds' biggest catches corresponded with Mizzou's biggest offensive droughts. Still, OU clicked when Reynolds clicked.
Should We Be Worried About Grant Ressel?
The Good: Grant Ressel is 18-for-18 on PATs and 5-for-5 on FGs under 40 yards.
The Bad: Ressel is 1-for-5 on FGs over 40 yards.
So ... is this a problem? Clearly Ressel is not at the top of his game, but in missing three huge road field goals, what can we expect from him moving forward? If he makes those three kicks, Mizzou beats Arizona State, and the entire fourth quarter of last night's game plays out with a different narrative. Only the best kickers in the country are automatic on long field goals, but ... damn those were some costly misses.
We know how fragile the generic kicker's psyche is, but we have to hope that, at the very least, Ressel still remains automatic on the more makeable (i.e. under 40 yards) field goals. It's a rhetorical question to wonder if he's going to keep it together or fall apart; we just have to hope for the former.
Time To Move Forward
Post-Dispatch (Bryan Burwell): There's no reason for Tigers to mope
The Trib: Missouri won’t get any breathers as the schedule only gets tougher
KC Star (Campus Corner): What we can say about Mizzou at 2-2
KBIA Sports Extra: Just one little thing missing from Mizzou football—consistency
My biggest fear headed into the season was that Mizzou would start 2-2, losing to two solid teams on the road, but the narrative would to some degree end up "Mizzou in crisis!" Mizzou is indeed 2-2, but they appear to have shown more than enough promise to keep fans in good spirits. Their two losses ensure that they will not be ranked anytime soon, which is a shame because in their two losses, they probably proved more Top 25 bona fides than some undefeated teams have. With Illinois' schedule (Arkansas State, South Dakota State, Arizona State at home, Western Michigan), for instance, the Tigers would probably be 4-0 and ranked in the mid-teens. Alas, that's a flaw of the human polls (lose, and you drop, no matter what), and all Mizzou can do is take care of business against Kansas State and Iowa State and get to the Oklahoma State game with momentum.
It really is interesting to think of the players who have shown flashes of greatness in their careers, even just on offense. Mizzou has all the components of a really good team: the James Franklin of the last three games, the Henry Josey of the last three games, the Jerrell Jackson of last year's Oklahoma game, the Wes Kemp of last year's Texas A&M game, T.J. Moe, the Michael Egnew of 2010, the Marcus Lucas of the Arizona State game, the L'Damian Washington of the last three games, the Kendial Lawrence of last November, the De'Vion Moore of last year's Oklahoma game, etc. The weapons are significant ... they just all need to show up, healthy, at the same time. If they do, Mizzou could win out the rest of the season. They probably won't, obviously, but the ceiling is high, as it is for the Mizzou defense. But I'll talk more about them in the BTBS post.