Now, that game one is in the books and Mizzou managed to avoid choking in historical fashion to
Just like a 102-yard fumble return, away we go:
-- Missouri pass offense vs. soft zone defenses. Holes in the zone defense against Mizzou's four- and five-wide opened up Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman ALL day.
-- Martin Rucker's day in general (10 rec., 87 yards)
-- The debut of Rucker under center in the de facto "jumbo" offense with him under the gun.
-- Covering the spread - not that we condone gambling or anything...
-- Confidence - Mizzou just looked like a team that expected to win, even though all signs pointed to choke towards the end of the game.
-- The healed knee of Jeremy Maclin.
-- Pig "expletive" Brown. I feel 100 percent confident saying he was the difference in the game, from his hustle on the fumble return to his awareness on the game-sealing pick.
-- The hit by Hardy Ricks. After watching highlights and replays, there was no excuse for the helmet-to-helmet shot on Juice Williams. That said, that might be a blessing for Illinois, because Eddie McGee sure as hell looked more like a quarterback to me.
-- ANYTHING involving the word "run." The Mizzou running game was pathetic/nonexistent/embarassing. El Paso needs to see if Tony Temple left his game at the Sun Bowl. The gun zone read was completely ineffective today, with Chase showing the ball for what seemed like an eternity before Temple took it and danced around in the backfield. Mizzou's running plays are taking WAY too much time to develop. Plus, the lack of a running game speaks volumes to why Missouri continues to choke up leads (see: 2006 Sun Bowl)
-- Stopping the run. Surprise!
-- Playcalling: Why the hell do we run the reverse to Alexander at such an important point in the game? Why kill the momentum of a drive where all you need to do is maintain posession?
-- The red zone offense. One again, Missouri's inability to overpower and punch it in appears like it will be an ongoing problem throughout the season, and will likely cost Missouri at least one game in conference play.
-- The play of the centers and long snappers. At least five to ten snaps under the gun in the second half were either high or to the side of Chase Daniel. Much of Adam Crossett's struggles can be attributed to poor long snapping.
-- Officiating. The men in stripes were handing out free first downs like candy. The Illini got away with at least two delay of game calls on Illinois' final drives. How a review did not overturn the Daniel incomplete pass/fumble call still astounds me to this moment.
-- ADDENDUM: Poor tackling. I forgot to mention this earlier, but the "All About the Ball" mentality cost MU against the Illini. Too many arm tackles/strip attempts and a failure to wrap up could be a serious issue.
-- ADDENDUM: Lack of discipline/poor preparation resulting in several inexcusable penalties (read: too many men on the field). Thanks to TigerBoard poster Phlalum for bringing this back to my attention.
-- The debut of the Pistol formation, which did not help jumpstart a lifeless Mizzou running game.
-- The punting of Adam Crossett. Crossett seemed to lack control in close, although once again the strength of Crossett's leg was clearly evident.
-- 54 passes for Chase Daniel? Should we call ourselves Texas Tech North?
-- Lack of fan involvement from Missouri student section during the third quarter. The crowd seemed deflated/dead from the Alexander fumble up until Wolfert's field goal to push the Mizzou total to 40.
-- Jeff Wolfert. The kickoffs were rather solid, and he drilled his first two field goal tries. The last kick was tough, but if Wolfert has a 49-yarder to bury Nebraska and win the North, will we be as forgiving?
THE ETS MVP:
Photo courtesy Sarah Becking at Becking.com
THE ETS UNSUNG HERO AWARD: