When Texas Tech visited Columbia on October 20, 2007, Missouri proved that there would be no hangover, no packing it in. We worried about a hangover following the cathartic, fun-as-hell blowout of Nebraska, but instead Mizzou traded blows for 12 full rounds (well, at least about 10) with Oklahoma in Norman. We then worried about a hangover following the Tigers’ first loss. We shouldn’t have.
Gary Pinkel went 3-1 against Mike Leach’s Texas Tech teams, and the wins generally followed the same path: move the ball efficiently, and play safe defense in the back while taking creative risks up front. Back-to-back pick sixes — one thrown downfield, one picked off at the line — changed the game when the Tigers won in Lubbock in 2006, and the combination of Brad Smith and perfect red zone defense sealed the deal in Columbia in 2003.
The key to each of those wins: getting off to a good start. Not a problem in this one.
As was so often the case in 2007, Missouri won the toss and elected to receive. The Tigers didn’t score but flipped the field, and on the Red Raiders’ fourth play, defensive end Stryker Sulak, dropping into coverage, picked off a deflected pass and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown. Mizzou forced a turnover on downs three minutes later, then drove for a 21-yard Jeff Wolfert field goal. 10-0, 13 minutes in.
That was all the scoring for a while. Tech missed a 49-yard field goal, Mizzou went three-and-out, and Tech turned the ball over on downs again. (Seriously, Mizzou’s defense was mediocre on one side of the field and the best in the country on the other. It was crazy.) Mizzou drove into the Tech red zone but found the tables turned — Jamar Wall picked off Chase Daniel in the end zone.
When Graham Harrell and Edward Britton connected for a 68-yard touchdown three plays later, it felt this game might turn in the wrong direction. No worries. Daniel hit Chase Coffman for a 33-yard score, Derrick Washington (finding more playing time in the injured Tony Temple’s absence) rushed for 20 and 11 yards, and Jimmy Jackson scored from a yard out. Tech managed another field goal before half, but Mizzou held a 17-10 advantage.
As was the case against both Nebraska and Oklahoma, the third quarter was all Mizzou. Tech turned the ball over on downs once more (Brock Christopher broke up a fourth-and-9 pass), and Mizzou drove 60 yards for another short Jackson touchdown.
Tech turned it over on downs again at the Mizzou 24, and the Tigers drove 76 yards to ice the game. Jackson’s third touchdown made it 31-10, and the game got funny when Tech got the ball back.
- 1st-and-10, Tech 45: Harrell fumbles out of bounds.
- 2nd-and-23, Tech 32: Tommy Chavis sacks Harrell.
- 3rd-and-30, Tech 25: William Moore sacks Harrell.
Want to know what it took to make Leach call a punt in this game? A fourth-and-43.
Oh yeah, and two plays after the punt, Daniel and Jeremy Maclin connected for a 57-yard score. A 39-yard Wolfert field goal scored the final points in a 41-10 win.
It was one thing to do this against Nebraska; the Huskers weren’t very good. But Tech would go on to win nine games, beating Oklahoma along the way. The Red Raiders were good. Mizzou was much, much better. The Tigers were also now 6-1.
- Total yards: Mizzou 422, Tech 388. A 34-yard advantage in a 31-point win. Tough to do.
- Fourth downs: Tech 3-for-7, Mizzou 1-for-1
- Scoring opportunities: Tech 8, Mizzou 7!
- Points per scoring opportunity: Mizzou 4.9, Tech 1.3. This, uh, may have made a big difference in the game.
- Havoc rate: Mizzou 29% (11 TFLs, 12 PDs, 1 FF in 84 snaps), Tech 14% (5 TFLs, 3 PDs, 2 FF in 70 snaps)
- Daniel: 14-for-19, 210 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 3 sacks. Tech couldn’t stop the run, and Mizzou had the lead, so the Tigers simply didn’t throw that much.
- Jackson: 12 carries, 59 yards, 3 TDs.
- Washington, Earl Goldsmith, and Marcus Woods: 23 carries, 133 yards.
- Maclin: 2 catches, 64 yards, 1 TD; 3 carries, 2 yards. Tech was about the first opponent to start slowing down the jet sweep.
- Coffman and Martin Rucker: 6 catches, 104 yards.
- Pig Freaking Brown: 10 solo tackles, 4 assists, 4.5 TFLs, 1 INT, 2 PBU. There was almost no question he was on his way to first-team All-American at this point. After what he did early in the year against Illinois, he was getting better. Sadly, this was the last full game of his career. Sigh.
- William Moore: 1.5 TFLs (1 sack), 1 INT, 1 PBU