Whoever had a safety as the first score of the game wins the pot!
The fact that a safety on a punt block was the first score of the game is probably all you needed to know about how this game went. Mizzou took an early 2-0 lead on a big Clarence Green blocked punt which went out of the back of the end zone to kick off the scoring in Mizzou's matchup against UConn. The Tigers offense started with a few empty possessions (something that would end up being a theme on the day), but aided by a Corey Fatony punt that was downed at the two, backed up the Huskies which led to the first score of the game. After getting the ball back on offense, Maty Mauk threw a terrible interception into double coverage along the sideline, and UConn turned that into 6. Not 7 because Mizzou blocked the extra point. Things were not trending early that it might be a long day for the offense.
Queue my expert analysis:
This is already a weird game. Perfectly setup for Mauk to be terrible until the 4th quarter and win a close game.— Sam Snelling (@SamSnellingRMN) September 19, 2015
The end of the 1st quarter saw the score at 6-2, not a normal football score by any stretch. The Mizzou defense continued to play well as they forced a fumble on a routine run up the middle, and Anthony Sherrills recovered to give the ball back to the offense, and DREW LOCK! Lock marched the offense forward on a few bubble screens to J'Mon Moore, before stalling out on 3rd and 1 from around the 23 yard line, and Andrew Baggett missed the 40 yard field goal off the right upright.
The defense kept showing out, but a fake punt by UConn allowed them to hold onto the ball for a short period. Mizzou forced another punt but THIS punt bounced off the leg of Tavon Ross, which was then recovered by UConn at the 25 yard line. The good news was that the defense held again (rinse, repeat) and even held on a 4th & 8 play where Donavin Newsome made a great play on the ball down on the goal line. But with The Tigers offense heading back onto the field, nothing was accomplished again, and the Tigers went in at halftime trailing the Huskies 6-2.
First Half Thoughts:
- Honestly it was about as ugly of a half as I remember watching. jaeger brought up Nebraska 2009, but at least Mizzou scored a TD in that game, and that was played in the rain. This was a beautiful fall day and the offense has accomplished nothing.
- Mauk was a problem in the first half. He's shown more ability in the past, but he was at his worst early today. His numbers weren't awful, but averaged only 3.5 yards a pass attempt. Ugh.
- Thank god for the defense. Walter Brady, Kentrell Brothers, Terry Beckner all made big plays, and Sherrills fumble recover almost got Mizzou some points. Clarence Green also had the only scoring for Mizzou on the punt block for a safety.
Things have to get better right?
Well, actually... they did. Both offenses had impressive series to start the second half, but UConn missed a 49-yard field goal while Mizzou was able to find a way into the end zone for their first TD of the day, a 3 yard Mauk speed option on 4th and goal. It was the first drive of the game where Mizzou, and Mauk, seemed to show a sense of urgency.
A big defensive stop and a shanked punt led to this...
On a checkdown for Maty Mauk, Tyler Hunt took it and ran with it. But not before he had the chance to truck a defender and rumble down the field inside the 10 yard line. Leading Mizzou down the field where they came up short on a 4th and goal from the one. So the game remained knotted at 9-6.
After that the game defaulted into a defensive struggle again, where even Drew Lock made an appearance and almost led Mizzou on a scoring drive. But turning the ball over on downs going for it on 4th and goal left the window open for UConn. They had a chance but everyone in the building was waiting for them to fake the Field Goal with about a minute to play. Then Sherrills made a play...
End of game thoughts:
- The defense continued it's dominance, allowing one decent drive by UConn in the second half but otherwise limiting the Huskies to basically nothing.
- The Oline didn't have a great performance, the Tigers are really going to need to take a look at what they're doing in order to get the running game going. Obviously Russell Hansbrough being healthy and in the lineup will help a lot, but there is a LOT of room for improvement.
- Mauk had a typical Maty performance. He was good at times, bad at times, but overall, there were a lot of mistakes by his supporting cast that led him to not looking like we'd like. Drew Lock didn't do a ton today that make me think he's the answer, but the ball just comes out so nice.
- Overall it was just a dreadful offensive performance. There's work to be done, but 3-0 is better than 2-1 or 1-2 or 0-3. Enjoy the win, Tiger fans.