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If Friday’s loss indeed punctuated his career, Pinkel finishes with an overall record of 190-110-3 in 25 seasons at Toledo and Missouri. In 15 years at MU, he was 118-73 with more wins than any other Mizzou head coach in the second-most seasons to Don Faurot (19).
Friday’s game was more of the same for a Missouri offense that finished the regular season as the program’s worst in more than a generation. The Tigers managed just 171 yards and eight first downs. It was the fourth time in freshman quarter Drew Lock’s eight starts Mizzou moved the ball less than 250 yards and failed to score a touchdown. Eight of MU’s 12 drives on Saturday failed to cover 10 yards.
"There was conversation with the players in the locker room about ‘What’s going to happen to us? Who’s going to be the next coach?’ " Pinkel said. "That’s very normal. That’s just the process, but I knew it was very uphill. That was frustrating for me because, no matter what I’m trying to do, we’re trying to get our guys to play at that high level they have to be in order to compete.
"I didn’t do a very good job. Bottom line. Last two weeks, I didn’t do a very good job. I think they were so stunned the BYU game we just kind of rolled into that win. But I think they started thinking a lot more, coaches and players."
Missouri’s 1-7 conference record is the worst in Pinkel’s 15-year tenure as head coach. The Tigers had only lost eight SEC games total since joining the conference prior to the 2012 season. After scoring three touchdowns against South Carolina on Oct. 3, the Tigers have only scored two touchdowns in six games against SEC opponents. That included no touchdowns that lasted between the Oct. 3 and Nov. 5 games. "I didn't want it to end this way," Pinkel said. "My players weren't focused like they needed to be."
"A lot of ‘What ifs,’ you know?" Boehm said. "Sometimes that’s just life. What if this happened or what if that happened? What if I went to Auburn? I wouldn’t have had two SEC East Championships. I wouldn’t have been able to start 52 consecutive games. It’s a blessing."
Boehm: "It’s frustrating that it all happened my senior year, but that’s selfish of me to say."— Aaron Reiss (@aaronjreiss) November 27, 2015
"I don't want to go to a bowl game," Simon said. "The rules say six wins get you eligible, and we didn't get six. I understand there are a lot of 5-7 teams out there, and if we get a bowl bid and we go, I'm going to fight my ass off to win that one."
Afterward, in a concrete box filled with worn red carpet, metal folding chairs and soggy inquisitors, Pinkel was composed and philosophical about the end of his 15 years at Missouri, his 25 years as a head coach and his 39 years in the coaching business.
He seemed at peace with his legacy … and the fact his final team wasn’t going to add to it. "Obviously, I didn’t want it to end this way," Pinkel said. "I also knew that our players were not focused like they needed to be. I had the challenge to get that done, and there was just a lot of uncertainty with our coaches and players, which can’t be prevented — nobody’s fault. That’s just the way it is."
Gary Pinkel is only FBS head coach to reach the conference title game in three conferences (Mid-American, Big 12, Southeastern)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 27, 2015
The defense was still stout
Kentrell Brothers added another 12 tackles to his nation-leading total, along with 2.5 tackles for loss and a pass breakup. He now has 152 tackles on the season, which is the fourth-most in Mizzou history. His 358 career stops tie him with Sean Doyle (1999-2002) for eighth place on the Tiger career charts.
Only Alabama held Arkansas to fewer yards all season than today's 310 yards vs. Missouri. Last year, only LSU & MU held Hogs to fewer yards— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) November 28, 2015
MU's defense was on the field for 395:33 this year. Or 1.19 games longer than its offense (324:27).— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) November 28, 2015
Which rivalry matchup are you watching?