Take it away, Mizzou Network...
And while we're at it...
Mizzou > Florida
The Tigers don’t figure to score four non-offensive touchdowns in any game again this season, but the road ahead suddenly seems much less treacherous. Since joining the SEC in 2012, Mizzou is 6-2 against its next four opponents. The two losses came in 2012, to Vanderbilt and Texas A&M. Missouri, without its starting quarterback, lost to a Vandy team with a handful of NFL players, including Rams starting running back Zac Stacy. Texas A&M featured Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel at his peak.
Four of the next five opponents looked far more vulnerable this weekend: Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas A&M were outscored collectively 134-6 by LSU, Ole Miss and Alabama. Arkansas, the one remaining opponent Mizzou hasn’t played in SEC action, got thumped by Georgia. Vanderbilt was idle … but remains Vanderbilt, perhaps the most hapless team in the power conferences.
Yes, Missouri’s offense is still a mess. Gary Pinkel insisted that Saturday’s meager output was partially his doing. He ordered coordinator Josh Henson to go "ultra, ultra conservative" after the Tigers jumped to a comfortable lead. It’s not like Missouri’s offense needs help shutting itself down, but Mizzou all but abandoned attempts to throw the ball in the second half. Mauk threw two passes after halftime, both falling incomplete.
Missouri’s defense and special teams were so dominant, the MU offense was the team’s appendix — doing no real harm or good, its purpose a mystery — converting the occasional minus-11-yard scoring drive but mostly watching the show from the sidelines.
After going the last three games without causing a turnover, the Tigers binged on poor Driskel and his shaky understudy, Treon Harris.
Last Sunday, defensive coordinator Dave Steckel passed out business cards that read "Takeaways = Victory." Linebacker Michael Scherer said the players weren’t sure if Steckel, a Marine with a penchant for conversational awkward pauses, was joking. So they mostly kept straight faces and took the cards.
"With Stec, you never want to laugh until he laughs," Scherer said.
Murphy made a name for himself as a returner in 2012, where he returned four kicks -- one kick-off, three punts -- for touchdowns that seaosn. But he was shut out in 2013, and this season, while he had some effective returns, his only return touchdown came on a kick-off in the season opener.
That didn't make him any less dangerous to his coaches and teammates, however.
"He has a huge impact on this football program," Gary Pinkel said. "He is third, and maybe better now, in all-time yards here at Mizzou. Maclin and Brad Smith are ahead of him, didn't know that at the time. You look at the big plays he made and they are just huge momentum plays, also.
"He'll tell you he got good blocking, but all you have to do is give him a lane and hold on because he has a chance to do it. It was just a remarkable performance from a great kid."
Over their final two seasons under coach Dan Devine, during the days when run-oriented offenses dominated the game’s landscape, Snowden and Sloan connected on 19 completions for 339 yards. They played their final game together in Miami’s Orange Bowl on New Year’s Day, 1960, which marked the program’s first postseason game in a decade. Despite statistically outplaying Georgia, the Tigers fell 14-0.
In that game, Sloan split out wide of the formation, away from the end spot he occupied throughout his career.
"That was the best move Devine ever made," Snowden said.
He found Sloan for six catches.
"Seven," Sloan said, "but one was called back. We had someone down the field."
Snowden cocked his head.
"I don’t remember that," he said. "I remember the one where you were gonna score that touchdown, that long one. Remember? He tripped your heel!"
"Yep," said Sloan, reaching in his seat to tap his right ankle. "Just caught me."
Strange weekend all around
Soccer pulls a road upset, then gets upset at home. Volleyball gets rolled at home, then wins on the road.