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Pick just about any stat: Mizzou’s defensive turnaround has been immense

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Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

The difference has just been jarring.

  • Mizzou yards per play, first 5 games vs. FBS (0-5): Opponent 7.8, Mizzou 5.8 (-2.0)
  • Mizzou, last 5 games (5-0): Mizzou 6.6, Opponent 4.4 (+2.2)

The difference is just about as dramatic if you use yards per game (from minus-187 per game to plus-167) or points per game (minus-24 per game to plus-35). Mizzou’s defense has cut its production allowed nearly in half. The national average for yards per play tends to hover in the 5.7 or 5.8 range, so Mizzou went from two yards per play worse than average to more than a yard better than average.

While the Tigers have played lesser opponents in that span (a “good bad schedule,” as the Trib called it), Idaho has averaged 5.3 yards per play for the year, UConn 5.6, Florida 5.3, Tennessee 4.7, and Vanderbilt 5.4. Mizzou has held them at least about a yard per play lower than their average.

That’s good. That’s really good. Sure, drops helped against Vanderbilt and UConn. Sure, Florida’s interim coach made a bone-headed decision to start a worse quarterback simply to make a change. Whatever. Mizzou’s defense has improved dramatically in terms of organization, tackling, taking advantage of turnover chances, attacking up front ... just about every possible category.

On Saturday, Biggest Play honors probably went to Brandon Lee, whose pick six sent Mizzou on its way to an easy win over Vanderbilt.

Or maybe Cale Garrett, who was all over the damn field.

Or maybe Terry Beckner Jr., who iced the game and nearly made a Piesman bid.

Or hey, just give the honors to all of those guys and get ready to speculate on bowl bids.

With Saturday’s victory, the Tigers punched their ticket to the postseason and could become a natural fit for the Liberty Bowl, set for Dec. 30 in Memphis, Tenn.

“We know what great fans they have, especially with St. Louis being such a huge alumni base,” Graeter said during halftime as the Tigers led Vandy 35-0. “When we travel, we like to drive to destinations. Like last week I drove to Columbia. It’s an easy trip, and you don’t have to get on an airplane from Columbia or St. Louis to get to Memphis, and that’s important. We certainly know what great fans they have and that Memphis is an attractive destination for them.”

Memphis? Hell yes.

Winning is fun, by the way.

“Some of us joke in the locker room, ‘This winning feeling is nice. We should have done this a long time ago,’ ” offensive lineman Kevin Pendleton said. “But we’re here where we are. We can’t turn back.”

Video:

Tramel Raggs was on hand in Nashville and snagged a couple of videos.

Richaud Floyd 11/18/17

Richaud Floyd explains what it was like to tiptoe down the sideline on back to back touchdowns versus Vanderbilt

Posted by Rock M Nation on Sunday, November 19, 2017
Barry Odom 11/19/17

Missouri Head Coach Barry Odom discusses Missouri's bowl ticket clinching win

Posted by Rock M Nation on Sunday, November 19, 2017

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