Because of all that happened after the opening series, I had managed to forget about it, but long live the jumbo-style formation Missouri opened the game with on Saturday in Lexington.
Alec Abeln, a senior reserve offensive lineman, started at fullback in a new package for the Tigers, lining up in the backfield to block for a handoff to Damarea Crockett on MU’s first play from scrimmage. Against a Kentucky defense that came into the game ranked No. 3 nationally in rush defense, the Tigers opted for an extra blocker on the field and opened with only two wide receivers, Emanuel Hall and Johnathon Johnson, and not regular starter J’Mon Moore, along with tight end Kendall Blanton. Abeln, a fifth-year senior from St. Louis University High, started nine games in 2015-16 at guard, but has played only special teams this year as a blocker on the punt team. The Tigers didn’t use the package for the rest of the first half, opting for three- and four-receiver formations.
I’m guessing the formation went on the shelf in part because other stuff was working so much — those three-and four-receiver packages were producing big pass plays, and Missouri was running the ball well in them, as well. But against Georgia’s dynamite defensive front this coming week, we might see a lot more of Alec Abeln in the backfield, and WOW, is that a sentence I never thought I’d type.
Other Football Links:
- Needless to say, Georgia is a mighty big favorite on Saturday.
- Emanuel Hall spoke with media after his 129-yard breakout performance.
- Game ball: Ish Witter. Hall was great, but Witter’s breakout was just as important to Mizzou’s near-win.
- Here are some Mizzou highlights:
- And here’s Barry Odom after the game:
- The epitome of striking while the iron’s hot: Homecoming weekend will now feature a Mizzou Madness basketball event, time TBD (depending on kickoff time), that will include both men’s and women’s scrimmages.
- Former Mizzou defensive end Charles Harris’ rookie season with the Dolphins has been a bit of a slow go, but he had a hell of a moment yesterday: his first career sack was basically a game-clincher.
- Former Mizzou tackle Sheldon Richardson had an interception and a laugh-out-loud quote yesterday:
- Mizzou Volleyball remains smoking hot. The Tigers were so shaky early in non-conference play but gave an excellent Kentucky team a run to start SEC play and have now won four in a row after a 25-17, 25-19, 25-15 pummeling of Ole Miss. Four Tigers had at least seven kills, and Alyssa Munlyn combined eight kills with 2.5 blocks.
- Goodness, this Mizzou Women’s Basketball team is likable.
- The good news: Mizzou Soccer played very well against No. 21 Tennessee on Sunday. The bad news: The Tigers still lost. Mizzou’s Sarah Luebbert scored twice to give Mizzou a 2-1 lead, but the Vols scored late in regulation, then scored a golden goal in OT to take a 3-2 win. That’s five losses in a row for a Tiger team that has taken on a brutal schedule this year and played reasonably well ... but not nearly well enough.
- Five current and former Mizzou wrestlers participated in the U23 World Team Trials up in Rochester, Minn., this weekend, and sophomore Jaydin Eierman finished third in the 65kg competition. And apparently #TigerStyle hadn’t been trademarked yet? No worries; it is now.
- New PAPN! I randomly started talking about Gary Pinkel and Alex Grinch in the middle, but otherwise it’s Mizzou-free.