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The Notorious Nine: Inside Missouri’s SEC Losing Streak

Remember that South Carolina win in 2015? That was a long time ago.

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Missouri
Memories... like the corners of my mind
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Everything seemed so much rosier the afternoon of Oct. 3, 2015.

Sure Maty Mauk was suspended and Missouri had opened up its SEC East title defense with a loss to Kentucky, but freshman Drew Lock had taken over ably, the Tigers had controlled South Carolina for 60 minutes at Memorial Stadium and Missouri seemed like it was back on track.

That was more than a year ago, 383 days to be exact. The Tigers haven’t won an SEC game since, a string of nine straight losses extended by the 40-14 loss at Florida on Saturday. That encompasses losses to Florida, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia (again), LSU and Florida (again).

It is Missouri’s longest conference losing streak since a nine-game bender from Nov. 5, 1994 through Nov. 18, 1995.

The Tigers topped that in 1991-92, losing 10 straight from Oct. 26, 1991 through Nov. 14, 1992.

Missouri has had 12 conference losing streaks of at least three games in these past 26 years. And here they are:

Games: 10
Start: at Nebraska (10/26/91), 6-63
End: vs. Kansas State (11/14/92), 27-14
Days: 385
Average Score: 15-37


Games: 9
Start: at Oklahoma (11/5/94), 13-30
End: vs. Iowa State (11/18/95), 45-31
Days: 378
Average Score: 11-31


Games: 9
Start: vs. Florida (10/10/15), 3-21
Most Current: at Florida (10/15/16), 14-40
Days: 372
Average Score: 9-25


Games: 6
Start: at Texas A&M (11/14/98), 14-17
End: vs. Texas Tech (10/30/99), 34-7
Days: 350
Average Score: 18-30


Games: 5
Start: at Texas (10/16/04), 20-28
End: at Iowa State (11/27/04), 17-14
Days: 42
Average Score: 16-28


Games: 4
Start: at Kansas State (11/24/01), 3-24
End: vs. Kansas (10/26/02), 36-12
Days: 336
Average Score: 20-33


Games: 4
Start: at Oklahoma (11/6/99), 0-37
End: vs. Oklahoma State (10/7/00), 24-10
Days: 336
Average Score: 10-49


Games: 4
Start: vs. Georgia (9/8/12), 20-41
End: vs. Kentucky (10/27/12), 33-10
Days: 49
Average Score: 14-33


Games: 4
Start: vs. Kansas (10/14/00), 17-38
End: at Baylor (11/11/00), 47-22
Days: 28
Average Score: 17-38


Games: 3
Start: at Texas (8/31/96), 10-40
End: vs. Oklahoma State (10/26/96), 35-28
Days: 58
Average Score: 17-40


Games: 3
Start: vs. Oklahoma (10/28/06), 10-26
End: vs. Kansas (11/25/06), 42-17
Days: 28
Average Score: 15-27


Games: 3
Start: vs. Nebraska (10/8/09), 12-27
End: at Colorado (10/31/09), 36-17
Days: 23
Average Score: 12-34

Missouri’s current streak is going to last at least one more week, through the non-conference match-up with Middle Tennessee on Saturday. But the Tigers’ next SEC opponent -- Kentucky at home Oct. 29 -- was the cure for what ailed them in 2012.

So maybe it won’t reach that magic double-digit number.

But while it still survives, let’s take a look inside the numbers of the streak:

Three things...

The Offense Can’t Stay on the Field

That average time of possession — 22:26 — means Missouri’s defense has been on the field for 62.6 percent of the streak. It means the opponent’s offense has gotten an average of 15:08 a game longer with the ball for a total 2 hours, 16 minutes and 14 seconds over the course of the streak.

That’s the new Star Wars movie. If you thought that dragged a little, consider how Missouri’s defense has felt.

While the Tigers have converted only 21.4 percent of their third- and fourth-down tries during the streak, opponents have converted 44.1 percent.

Missouri has gotten into the red zone only a little more than half as much as opponents over the streak and scored touchdowns at a 30-percent clip, as opposed to 50 percent for the opponent.

Maybe that’s why the Tigers are on the other end of an 84-228 score discrepancy.

The Turnover Margin is Ghastly

Minus-8. Or a deficit of nearly one turnover a game.

And, for a team that is 2-11 when losing the turnover battle since joining the SEC, that ain’t a good sign.

The Pass Game has been worse off

If you look at the rate stats in the run game over the stretch -- taking out stat yardage for both sides -- Missouri’s 4.72 yards a carry isn’t that far off from opponents’ 4.98.

Yes, the bulk stats are way off -- 214 yards a game versus 130...symptomatic of point one — but the Tigers have run about as well as opponents when they’ve gotten the chance.

Passing has been an issue.

Missouri has completed only 43.6 percent of its passes for 4.96 yards an attempt, a 4:12 TD:INT ratio and an 81.38 rating over the losing streak.

Opponents haven’t been putting up eye-popping numbers through the air either, but their 114.91 rating is 41-percent better.

It’s gotten a little better this year. But not all that much.

The Tigers are completing 49.0 percent of their passes for 6.76 yards an attempt, a 4:6 TD:INT ratio and a 106.95 rating. And a lot of that goodwill comes from the Georgia game.

Brighter days are ahead. Or, at least, they should be.

The next three SEC opponents -- Kentucky, Vanderbilt and South Carolina — average a rank of 81st nationally in time of possession, 68th in average turnover margin and 47th in pass efficiency defense.

So, not exactly world-beaters in the areas that have plagued Missouri the most.

We’ll see how it plays out over this crucial next month for the Tigers’ bowl hopes.