South Carolina 27, Missouri 24: Links and initial reflections

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

1. Recaps

MUtigers.com: South Carolina Outlasts Mizzou in OT, 27-24
MUtigers.com: Mizzou/South Carolina Post-Game Notes
MUtigers.com: Post Game Quotes

Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel

Opening Statement:

"A game this close, it gets down to the end, a play here, a play there. There wasn't a play or a call that a coach could have made through out the entire game. That did not come down to just one player or one kick or one throw or one catch. Our guys are certainly frustrated and disappointed, and they should be. They are competitors and we will have to bounce back from this".

On how Andrew Baggett is handling the game-losing missed kick:

"He's a competitor, it is his job, it is his responsibility. Last week he made five, and so that's what comes with it. There are other plays; there are plays you can look back and get a first down here, a third-down completion here, that type of thing through the entire game. So its not one guy here. We all could have done something different today too to help win that football game".

On Connor Shaw coming into the game:

"I thought he came in and did a good job. He threw some completions; obviously did some good things. I thought it was a very courageous effort on his part".

On the offense's second half struggles:

"We had the one drive with the missed field goal, but they are good. You are going to struggle a bit; you have to give them credit. We always want to move the ball a bit better, but we had our struggles today, but we would certainly like to move the ball better".

On whether he would want to run the ball better:

"Well I think you always think you can, but when you get out there, they are good up front. They have some really good players. We had our struggles a little bit and obviously did not do as well as we wanted to".

On 4th and 15 South Carolina touch down:

"It was just a man coverage route, a corner route. But again there are other plays; you go through a lot of plays in different situations. But certainly it was a big play".

Thoughts on Mauk's performance:

"I thought he did a lot of good things. He is a young guys, it is his second time starting a football game in his (college) life. I think he did some really, really good things and a lot of little things he needs to do to get better. Overall he battled and we will improve and I think he will be a really good player".

The Trib (Behind the Stripes): South Carolina hands Missouri 27-24 loss in two overtimes
The Missourian: Missouri football loses to South Carolina in double overtime, 27-24
Post-Dispatch: Tigers lose double-OT thriller to Gamecocks
KC Star: Missouri-South Carolina game report
PowerMizzou: Another Northern Nightmare
PowerMizzou: Build-up to the fall

2. Multimedia

The Missourian: Homecoming 2013: Photos of MU students and alumni
PowerMizzou: PHOTOS: Gamecocks top Tigers
PowerMizzou: PMTV-HD: South Carolina Post Game
Mizzou Network: HIGHLIGHT: Murphy 11 yd TD vs. USC
Mizzou Network: Postgame Report: Pinkel after South Carolina

3. Connor Shaw is a senior. It feels good to say that.

The Trib: Connor Shaw's entrance signals beginning of the end for Missouri's undefeated season
The Missourian: Missouri football collapses against Shaw for 2nd straight year

What's funny is, Shaw's stats weren't even all that good. I mean, obviously a 69 percent completion rate is indeed good, but in 31 pass attempts, he threw for 201 yards and was sacked twice for a loss of 20. That's 5.8 yards per pass attempt, quite a bit worse than Dylan Thompson's 8.2 and barely better than what Maty Mauk averaged if you take out the 96-yarder to L'Damian Washington (5.5). That reinforces just how close Mizzou came to shutting the door in this ballgame. Shaw didn't make as many plays as it feels like he made ... but he made all the ones that counted the most.

Saying it like that doesn't make me feel better.

Regardless, he's a senior. Missouri does not have to deal with him anymore. And that makes me happy.

4. Time to get E.J. back

KC Star: Cornerback E.J. Gaines out of the Missouri lineup again

5. He did some damage when it counted

Post-Dispatch: Tigers hold ground vs. Clowney

6. Reining him in

The Trib: Tigers rein in QB Mauk

Despite some occasionally shaky throws, the redshirt freshman piloted Missouri to a runaway victory over Florida last week and played well enough last night to give the Tigers a 17-point advantage entering the fourth quarter against the Gamecocks in a sold-out Memorial Stadium for homecoming.

But when it had a chance to not only protect that lead but finish off Steve Spurrier's team and put Missouri on a one-way street headed to the SEC Championship Game, the Tigers didn't show the same level of trust in their rookie signal caller. On a night when he threw for 249 yards, including a 96-yard touchdown, Mauk completed only 2 of 6 passes for 26 yards in the final 15 minutes of regulation and two overtime periods.

"We get to the fourth quarter, you try to conserve, try to run the clock out the best you can and force them to use timeouts," Pinkel said.

In real time, I didn't have much problem with Missouri's play-calling in the fourth quarter. Or at least, I understood it. Mauk was tempting fate a bit, and the semi-maligned South Carolina secondary was making a lot of plays on the ball. I'd have loved another bubble screen or two to the outside instead of screens to the halfbacks (because the former is much more of a bread-and-butter play for this team than the latter), but in the end, what they called mostly made sense.

When Mizzou got to the South Carolina 26 on its first possession of the fourth quarter, Mauk made an iffy throw toward a well-covered DGB in the end zone, and after a false start, they played it conservatively with a screen on third-and-12 (which almost backfired because it was horribly executed).

On Mizzou's second fourth-quarter possession, the goal was to run clock, and the first two plays made sense and worked well -- two Henry Josey runs gained eight yards. But there was probably some overthinking on the third-and-2 call, a pretty predictable and poorly executed "Just run it away from Clowney" call. That failed.

And in the final minute of regulation, Missouri did what it always does in the final minute with Gary Pinkel: Take a safe shot and prepare to get aggressive if it works out reasonably well. The screen to Marcus Murphy was eaten alive, so Mizzou ran out the clock instead of risking a big sack or pick. That made sense, too, even if it wasn't exactly the bravest thing in the world.

In the end, I think it felt like Missouri was "playing not to lose" or clamming up or "reining Mauk in" more than Missouri actually did. Obviously I'd like to try a completely different set of plays or approaches now that I know it didn't work. But the tactics made sense at the time, and that's all I really ask for. That doesn't mean I loved it, but I struggle to complain too much about it.

7. Fourth and forever

The Trib: GAME NOTES: South Carolina 27, Missouri 24 (2OT)

That play sucked.

Analysis!

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