From a "who's covering the team?" perspective, it's a pretty good time to be a Mizzou fan. Dave Matter left the Trib, but really he only changed URLs and more or less continued providing the coverage we had come to expect from him. Meanwhile, his departure led to the Trib bringing in David Morrison, who's combination of wonk and silliness has been quite enjoyable over the last two seasons or so.
A pair of Morrison pieces each week do a lovely job of closing the book on a given game. First comes his Game Rewind on Sunday, then his Snap Decisions snap-count post on Monday/Tuesday. Before we fully dive into the Tennessee game, I wanted to highlight these two pieces and point out some of the most interesting tidbits.
Let's talk about Golden for a second. He said he was finally feeling like himself again after sitting out the Sept. 20 game against Indiana with a hamstring injury and battling it since then. Michael Scherer said Golden had been telling him that all week. But he really believed it when he saw Golden track down wideout Malcome Kennedy from behind on a 17-yard gain. "He's back, playing like an Energizer bunny. Keep going, going and going. He's going to be problems here on out," quoth Scherer.
Ray and Golden's three sacks were their most combined since the 3.5 against UCF. On the year, they've combined for 105 tackles, 29.5 TFL and 17.5 sacks. In a 13-game season, that'd put them on pace for 137 tackles, 38.5 TFL and 23 sacks. Over 14 games, it's 147 tackles, 41.5 TFL and 24.5 sacks. Kony Ealy and Michael Sam, in 14 games last year, had 91 tackles, 33.5 TFL and 21 sacks.
He also talks a bit about penalties and the massively detrimental effect they had on the Tigers in the first half. This was a pretty extreme performance from the offensive line: no sacks (albeit against a depleted A&M pass rush), big, gaping running holes, and some particularly crippling procedural penalties. Once the ball was in motion, the line was fine.
MU's defense has held all of its SEC opponents to at least 16 percent fewer yards per play than those opponents put up vs. everyone else.— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) November 16, 2014
That seam tho. pic.twitter.com/sIftrVdtxF— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) November 17, 2014
That Darius White catch, on second viewing, is even more spectacular- http://t.co/dxCRGxzuHz— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) November 17, 2014
Pop quiz: This play ended in a) 5 yards for Russell Hansbrough or b) 45 yards for Russell Hansbrough? pic.twitter.com/1XttyQy8V7— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) November 17, 2014
I mean.... pic.twitter.com/X0UlA17QDX— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) November 17, 2014
And from my favorite piece of the week, Snap Decisions. If I could change one single thing about the college football stats universe, it's snap counts. I wish everybody had to record/report them. It would change so much of what I do for the better.
Duron Singleton -- 60
Thomas Wilson -- 3
Kenya Dennis -- 57
John Gibson -- 43
David Johnson -- 26
Ian Simon -- 53
Cortland Browning -- 42
Braylon Webb -- 31 [...]
Browning saw every snap at Webb's position in the first half, then played 10 plays on that aforementioned 12-play scoring drive for Simon in the second. Webb played every snap after returning from his targeting suspension.
Mizzou surprised me a bit in keeping the rotation tight without Penton. Logan Cheadle didn't see the field, and Thomas Wilson was around for only three snaps. Since they don't list a nickel back on the depth chart (and simply cram Singleton in behind Webb), I wasn't sure if they were married to him playing that role, or if he would move back and let Wilson take over at NB. The snap counts above are a pretty clear answer. Browning is still ahead of Wilson on the overall totem pole, and they really like Singleton at nickel back.
Meanwhile, the receiver rotation was back to "first-stringers only" with the return of Darius White. White, Bud Sasser, and Jimmie Hunt combined for 249 snaps. Other wideouts combined for 19, 11 from players not named Marcus Murphy.
These two posts do a lovely job of setting the table for Tennessee. We basically know what to expect, personnel-wise, from the offense and defense moving forward, at least until other injuries/discipline issues flare up.