Mizzou survived its first true road test of the season and sits, albeit in dangerous fashion, at 2-0 heading home for the next three games.
Photo courtesy Sarah Becking. More photos available at Becking.com
Let's take a look at the Good, Bad, and Indifferent of Mizzou's 38-25 win over Ole Miss. This week's edition may be rather brief, given that all of my observations had to be channeled through Tiger radio voice Mike Kelly.
-- Is it too much of a postgame overreaction to want discuss Chase Daniel's place among the nation's top quarterbacks? "Booger" was lights out in Oxford, going 31 of 42 for 330 yards and 5 touchdowns, as well as adding 55 yards on the ground. It's hard for me to find a quarterback I'd rather have at Mizzou than Daniel, especially for the system Missouri runs.
-- Welcome back Tony Temple. I pumped myself up so high on this kid after the Sun Bowl only to suffer a severe letdown against Illinois. Temple rushed 17 times for 123 yards, averaging over 7 yards a carry - more than BenJarvus Green-Ellis. I was unable to see the game, so I don't know whether the blocking was better, the zone read plays developed quicker than last week, or if Temple was just running with more authority. But whatever it was, keep it coming.
-- I am bowing down at the throne of Mr. T. Martin Rucker was again outstanding, coming up with four receptions for 54 yards, as well as 10 yards on two carries on the ground, including a nine-yard gain where I'm told he just rampaged through the Ole Miss defense. I'm struggling to come up with a name for the Rucker-under-center formation. Help me out in the comments section...
-- Pig Brown. The official man crush of ETS finished with 12 tackles and a HUGE fourth quarter pass breakup on fourth down to effectively seal the victory for the Tigers. Not only that, but he did it only a few plays after leaving the field hurt.
-- Brock Christopher and Sean Weatherspoon. Once again, it seemed like every time a play ended, those two were somehow involved or somewhere close. The two combined for 17 tackles and two pass breakups.
-- Will Franklin making his presence felt early with touchdown receptions of 10 and 40 yards.
Photo courtesy Columbia Tribune
-- Run defense, run defense, run defense. BenJarvus Green-Ellis shredded Mizzou to the tune of 226 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries. The Tigers made him look like Darren McFadden yesterday. If BJGE did this to the Tigers, Marlon Lucky, Allen Patrick and Jorvorskie Lane should be enough to cause me to seizure.
-- Killer instinct: Once again, it looked like Mizzou had it in the first half and left it in the locker room before the second half. I couldn't see that game so I don't feel completely comfortable blaming coaching, but this team needs to find a way to step on some throats in the second half.
-- The lack of television. Having to listen to the game on the radio made me glad I live in the generation I do.
-- Length of drives: It's such a double-edged sword. Mizzou is incapable of grinding things out to run the clock, so to move the ball, the Tigers have to take a chance by going to the air. Now I can't really complain about scoring, but Mizzou is scoring so quickly (all five touchdowns came in drives under three and a half minutes) that it's putting the defense in a bad predicament. Does anyone out there think the D might be fatigued in the second half, causing the breakdowns we've seen the last two weeks?
-- Carl Gettis: The learning curve is steep but he seems to be handling it as well as you can expect for a freshman cornerback. He got beat late in the game to help Ole Miss make it close, but he should develop into a solid DB for the next few years.
-- ADDENDUM: I completely forgot to mention Jeff Wolfert. Coming into this season, I had Wolfert as infallible. Two missed kicks from the 40-50 yard range, and I'm suddenly a tad concerned.
THE ETS MVP:
Photo courtesy Associated Press
THE ETS UNSUNG HERO AWARD
Now available for voting! See the poll on the right.