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Making The Play: Texas A&M

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Recapping a sequence of plays that turned the game sideways for Mizzou.

NCAA Football: Texas A&M at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The game against Texas A&M started off badly for Missouri. They couldn’t execute on offense and couldn’t stop a nosebleed on defense. Texas A&M thoroughly dominated that first quarter.

Then, in the second quarter, Missouri showed some signs of life and tried to inch themselves back into the game. Tyler Badie started things off with that angry, 32 yard TD run and then in the second half, Missouri was able to force A&M off the field with a quick three and out and an immediate score on a 97 yard TD drive.

Things were moving in the right direction, and then the little things caught up to Missouri.

1st Down

This is the the start of what could’ve been a decent comeback.

Coach Wilks has a good blitz called up, and it actually gets home. He sends the extra blitzer from the safety position, and Martez Manuel found a way to get home and make the sack. It was a great play, and Manuel flies in like a missle towards Calzada. At this point, it’s a two score game, and you have them in their own territory with a 2nd and 27 to try and overcome.

2nd Down

Here is where the momentum shifts.

A&M has a screen called, and most of the defensive line over pursues. The guard and center release leaving the defensive tackles free to rush. However, when they sense how easily they were let through on a screen, their first instinct should be to retrace their steps to get to where they should be.

One defensive tackle continues to rush upfield, and the other, Mekhi Wingo, finds a way to retrace and actually finds the running back trying to leak out of the backfield. The only problem is, that he tackles the running back before the ball is thrown and draws a flag.

On one hand, I’m impressed that the true freshman defensive tackle remembered to run and retrace, but on the other hand he’s gotta hold up just a little longer to avoid the penalty.

Now, it’s 2nd and 17, instead of 3rd and 27.

3rd Down

After an incomplete pass on second down, here we arrive at the critical breakdown.

After bringing pressure earlier on the drive, Wilks & Co. elect to stay back and play coverage. They look like they’re running some sort of a deep cover two, with the corners playing at a depth of about 10 yards. That makes sense, given the situation of 3rd and 17.

Unfortunately, there’s a communication issue with the linebackers passing off the slot receiver to the deep safety who the receiver runs right under to find the open window.

Conclusion

This drive was a back breaker for Missouri. They had the opportunity to have their opponent in a deep third down and made critical errors along the way to stop them from getting off the field. If Missouri is able to avoid the penalty on Wingo, or find a way to not allow that third down conversion, who knows where this game goes. Had Missouri scored a touchdown, it’s a one possession game and Missouri would’ve had all of the momentum.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda though, right?

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