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Independence Bowl - Missouri 41 - UNC 24

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 26, 2011


2011-2012 Bowls - CFN's Preview & Prediction for the 2011 Advocare V100 Independence Bowl

2011 Independence

Missouri 41 ... UNC 24

- 2011-2012 CFN Bowl Central

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National Rankings
M NC
12th Total Offense 51st
60th Total Defense 40th
33rd Scoring Offense 57th
44th Scoring Defense 44th
11th Rushing Offense 72nd
43rd Run Defense 14th
58th Passing Offense 42nd
91st Passing Defense 90th
42nd Turnover Margin 68th
Position Rankings
relative to each other
5 Highest - 1 Lowest
M   NC
4 Quarterbacks 3.5
4 RBs 3.5
4.5 Receivers 3.5
3.5 O Line 3
3.5 D Line 4
3.5 Linebackers 3.5
3 Secondary 3
3.5 Spec Teams 3
4 Coaching 2.5
Missouri 41 … North Carolina 24
- CFN Thoughts on the Game

Missouri: The Tigers outgained UNC 337 rushing yards to 36 … QB James Franklin completed 15-of-23 passes for 132 yards and a score with a pick, and he led the team with 142 yards and two scores on 18 carries. … Kendial Lawrence ran 16 times for 108 yards and a score. … L’Damian Washington caught three passes for 47 yards, but eight different Tigers caught passes. … Andrew Wilson led the team with nine tackles with half a sack, two tackles for loss, and a forced fumble.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels outpassed Mizzou 317 yards to 176. … QB Bryn Renner completed 27-of-42 passes for 317 yards and three scores with a pick. … Giovani Bernard was held to 31 yards on 13 carries. … Erik Highsmith caught eight passes for 77 yards and a score. … Punter Thomas Hibbard averaged 48.8 yards per kick putting three of his four attempts inside the 20. … Zach Brown led the team with 14 tackles with an interception and two tackles for loss.

(AP) -- Missouri made sure its final football game as a member of the Big 12 was decided early.

James Franklin ran for two touchdowns and threw for another, and the Tigers easily beat North Carolina 41-24 in the Independence Bowl on Monday night.

Missouri (8-5) ends the season on a four-game winning streak for the first time since 1965. The Tigers will join the Southeastern Conference next fall and showed one reason they should be a factor immediately: The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Franklin, a sophomore who generally did as he pleased in both the running and passing games.

Franklin, named the game's offensive Most Valuable Player, rushed for 142 yards and threw for 132 despite less than ideal conditions in the cold and rain at Independence Stadium. He led the Tigers to 31 first-half points - an Independence Bowl record.

For North Carolina (7-6), a season that started with a promising 5-1 record ends with a lopsided loss. The Tar Heels lost five of their final seven under interim coach Everett Withers, who leaves to become defensive coordinator at Ohio State under Urban Meyer.

North Carolina had the Atlantic Coast Conference's second-best rushing defense, giving up just 106.2 yards per game. But the Tigers found plenty of running room with Franklin and Kendial Lawrence, repeatedly gashing the Tar Heels for big gains.

Lawrence rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown as the Tigers racked up 337 yards on the ground.

North Carolina's poor defense wasted a productive game by quarterback Bryn Renner, who threw for 317 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

Missouri's mascot - Truman the Tiger - shattered most of the original Independence Bowl trophy before the game started in a pre-game accident. The Tigers were more than happy to claim the replacement.

North Carolina scored first, with Renner hitting Dwight Jones for a 22-yard touchdown pass with 12:12 left in the first quarter. That would be the high point for the Tar Heels.

Missouri responded with a 40-yard touchdown pass from receiver T.J. Moe to Wes Kemp after a lateral from Franklin. Moe hadn't thrown a touchdown pass since his days as a high school quarterback in suburban St. Louis, and it was just his second complete pass of the season.

The Tigers scored again on Franklin's 2-yard run to take a 14-7 lead late in the first quarter. The touchdown was set up by Franklin's 16-yard pass to L'Damian Washington that put the Tigers at the 2-yard line. Washington grew up in Shreveport, just a few miles from Independence Stadium.

And Missouri just kept piling on.

The Tigers scored two touchdowns and a field goal during the second quarter to take a 31-10 halftime lead.

North Carolina had a glimmer of hope late in the third when Jheranie Boyd caught a 44-yard touchdown pass from Renner to pull the Tar Heels to 34-17. But Missouri responded minutes later with Franklin's second touchdown run of the night and the rout continued.

(AP) -- Missouri made sure its final football game as a member of the Big 12 was decided early.

James Franklin ran for two touchdowns and threw for another, and the Tigers easily beat North Carolina 41-24 in the Independence Bowl on Monday night.

Missouri (8-5) ends the season on a four-game winning streak for the first time since 1965. The Tigers will join the Southeastern Conference next fall and showed one reason they should be a factor immediately: The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Franklin, a sophomore who generally did as he pleased in both the running and passing games.

Franklin, named the game's offensive Most Valuable Player, rushed for 142 yards and threw for 132 despite less than ideal conditions in the cold and rain at Independence Stadium. He led the Tigers to 31 first-half points - an Independence Bowl record.

For North Carolina (7-6), a season that started with a promising 5-1 record ends with a lopsided loss. The Tar Heels lost five of their final seven under interim coach Everett Withers, who leaves to become defensive coordinator at Ohio State under Urban Meyer.

North Carolina had the Atlantic Coast Conference's second-best rushing defense, giving up just 106.2 yards per game. But the Tigers found plenty of running room with Franklin and Kendial Lawrence, repeatedly gashing the Tar Heels for big gains.

Lawrence rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown as the Tigers racked up 337 yards on the ground.

North Carolina's poor defense wasted a productive game by quarterback Bryn Renner, who threw for 317 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

Missouri's mascot - Truman the Tiger - shattered most of the original Independence Bowl trophy before the game started in a pre-game accident. The Tigers were more than happy to claim the replacement.

North Carolina scored first, with Renner hitting Dwight Jones for a 22-yard touchdown pass with 12:12 left in the first quarter. That would be the high point for the Tar Heels.

Missouri responded with a 40-yard touchdown pass from receiver T.J. Moe to Wes Kemp after a lateral from Franklin. Moe hadn't thrown a touchdown pass since his days as a high school quarterback in suburban St. Louis, and it was just his second complete pass of the season.

The Tigers scored again on Franklin's 2-yard run to take a 14-7 lead late in the first quarter. The touchdown was set up by Franklin's 16-yard pass to L'Damian Washington that put the Tigers at the 2-yard line. Washington grew up in Shreveport, just a few miles from Independence Stadium.

And Missouri just kept piling on.

The Tigers scored two touchdowns and a field goal during the second quarter to take a 31-10 halftime lead.

North Carolina had a glimmer of hope late in the third when Jheranie Boyd caught a 44-yard touchdown pass from Renner to pull the Tar Heels to 34-17. But Missouri responded minutes later with Franklin's second touchdown run of the night and the rout continued.

Missouri (7-5) vs. North Carolina (7-5) Dec. 26, 5:00, ESPN2

Here’s The Deal … Carolina and Mizzou each won seven games during erratic regular seasons. They could have been better. They could have been far worse, too.

The Tar Heels began the year under unusual circumstances, enduring the July 27 firing of head coach Butch Davis and the specter of an ongoing NCAA investigation into improper benefits and practices. All things considered, interim head coach Everett Withers did about as well as could be expected just to guide the program to a fourth straight postseason game. For a time, when Carolina jumped out to a 5-1 start, it looked as if Withers might shed the interim label. However, the team stumbled to a fourth-place finish in the Coastal Division, prompting AD Bubba Cunningham to move in another direction two weeks after a regular season-ending win over Duke.

North Carolina has been a solid, respectable program over the years, but it’s been unable to get over the hump, last winning an ACC championship more than three decades ago. Carl Torbush couldn’t do it. Neither, for that matter, could John Bunting or Davis. The task of elevating the play of a frequent underachiever now belongs to Larry Fedora, who led Southern Miss to a Conference USA title just a few days before being contacted by Cunningham. He’ll coach the Golden Eagles on Christmas Eve, before getting his first good look at his new troops. The Heels’ goals in Shreveport fall into two distinct categories: The seniors are aiming for one more victory before joining the working force. The holdovers are determined to impress the new boss looking on.

Mizzou didn’t become bowl-eligible until the middle of November, but the season was a break here and a stop there from being so much more. The Tigers were in all but one of their five defeats, losing three times by no more than a touchdown. The year was spent breaking in a gifted, but young quarterback, and overcoming injuries that chipped away at the program’s depth on both sides of the ball. Still, the program put down a solid foundation for the future, earning wins over Texas A&M and Texas, head coach Gary Pinkel’s first over Mack Brown.

Missouri is preparing for seismic changes of its own in 2012, namely a move from the Big 12 to the SEC. Pinkel and his assistants are facing a busy offseason of learning about a dozen new conference foes, their personnel and tendencies. Snapping a two-game losing streak in the postseason would serve as a positive launching point for those Tigers about to take on the staff’s challenge beginning in January. The team dropped a heartbreaker to Iowa in last year’s Insight Bowl, and was annihilated by Navy in the 2009 Texas Bowl.

Players to Watch: While they won’t face each directly, the battle between sophomores Mizzou’s James Franklin and North Carolina’s Bryn Renner will be one of the most anticipated among young quarterbacks in the postseason. Franklin experienced the usual hiccups of a first-year starter, but also flashed many of the skills that’ll help make him one of the premier dual-threats over the next two seasons. The latest in a long line of outstanding Tigers quarterbacks that includes Brad Smith, Chase Daniel and Blaine Gabbert, he’s thrown for 2,733 yards and 20 scores, and has sprinted for another 13 touchdowns and 839 yards. The Missouri defense won’t have to worry about the scrambling of Renner, but his accurate strikes will be a major concern. The West Springfield (Va.) High product has thrown 23 touchdown passes, while completing an ACC-best 69% of his passes. A student of the game, he plays with the poise of an upperclassman. Both quarterbacks should be NFL-ready in two years.

Each young hurler has a unique supporting cast to help him traverse the field. Franklin, unfortunately, lost backfield mate, RB Henry Josey, who was averaging more than eight yards a carry when he tore his ACL on Nov. 12. The quarterback will lean on seasoned veteran Kendial Lawrence and his own shifty feet, while working the intermediate routes over the top. Missouri lacks a true field-stretcher, relying instead on possession receiver T.J. Moe and one of the game’s best tight ends, Michael Egnew. The 6-6, 245-pound Mackey Award finalist will face one of his stiffest challenges of the year, trying to shake athletic Carolina linebackers Zach Brown and Kevin Reddick.

Once Josey went down, the Heels assumed an edge at the skill positions in this game. Renner’s two preferred partners will be RB Giovani Bernard and WR Dwight Jones. Bernard delivered a breakout redshirt freshman season, returning from a serious knee injury to become the school’s first 1,000-yard rusher in 14 years. He’s a slippery runner, with the vision to get into the Missouri secondary in an instant. That Tigers defensive backfield, which yielded no less than three touchdown passes to five different quarterbacks, will be more concerned about corralling Jones. The 6-4, 225-pounder has the strength and huge mitts to toy with opposing defenders, catching 79 passes for 1,119 yards and 11 touchdowns in his Chapel Hill swan song.

Hey, if your pro team needs defensive linemen, pay close attention to this 36th edition of the Independence Bowl. It’s dripping with next-level linemen. In powder blue, Quinton Coples, Donte Paige-Moss, Kareem Martin, Tydreke Powell and Sylvester Williams were all signature recruits for Davis. And all possess the size and skills to push a pile. In black and gold, Mizzou will feature a cadre of veterans, and a rotation as deep as the one from Carolina. DE Jacquies Smith, NG Dominique Hamilton and DT Sheldon Richardson each received All-Big 12 recognition, while Terrell Resonno and Brad Madison are also key cogs in the mix. Together, they’ll make sure that Bernard has to work hard for every yard he picks up.

Missouri will win if … the secondary doesn’t do a disappearing act.

The Tigers are going to put up points. Franklin and his teammates will make sure of it. However, when Missouri has flopped this fall, it’s often been because of the play of a leaky secondary. Now, the unit has improved around the development of sophomore CB E.J. Gaines and senior S Kenji Jackson, yet still allowed 13 touchdown passes and picked off just four in the team’s five losses. It’s incumbent upon the defense, especially the secondary, to stall the North Carolina offense. If Renner starts to click through the air, and Bernard is perforating wide running lanes, the Tigers could once again be on the short end of a high-scoring game. Mizzou needs to achieve the overall balance that’s escaped it throughout this rollercoaster campaign.

North Carolina will win if … it’s able to hem in and frustrate Franklin.

If Franklin is just ordinary, Missouri is not going to be crowned Independence Bowl champion, especially since sidekick Josey is on the shelf. The Tar Heels staff has nearly a month to prepare for the multi-dimensional quarterback, but will it be enough time? Carolina certainly harbors the requisite speed and depth on defense, particularly along the front seven. The linemen and linebackers will be responsible for keeping a constant watch on No. 1, making sure that he’s not allowed to completely take the game over. While there have been exceptions, such as the Wake Forest and Duke games, the Heels have generally lacked the execution and firepower to survive in a shootout. They’ll need to drag this game into the 20s by sealing off Franklin’s running lanes, and forcing him into costly forced passes.

What Will Happen: Franklin is set to declare independence from his anonymity.

The sophomore with the high ceiling and myriad talents will use Shreveport as a launching pad, making a splash to the portion of the country unfamiliar with his ability. He’ll use his feet and his arm to carry Missouri to a hard-fought victory versus a game bunch of Tar Heels in a tight and competitive tussle. Carolina, though, has had issues in pass defense in 2011, springing leaks at inopportune times. Franklin will have modest success on intermediate throws to Moe and Egnew, which could prompt more shots over the top in the direction of budding sophomore WR Marcus Lucas. In a contest involving two similarly talented programs, neither figures to be taking a knee in the final few possessions.

CFN Prediction: Missouri 30 … North Carolina 24
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: Missouri -4   O/U: 53
Confidence Picks
Fiu Rich Matt Russ Barrett Terry Phil Clucko PICK
MO(26) MO (24) MO (27) MO (16) MO (16) MO(20) NC (6) MO (11) MO(134)

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Missouri is one of the flakiest and most underacheiving bowl programs around, but it'll come out roaring against a North Carolina team that would have problems even with Larry Fedora ready to roll. 

By Richard Cirminiello 
Missouri QB James Franklin, a budding star, versus the veteran defensive talent of North Carolina will be one of the underrated matchups of the postseason.

By Matt Zemek
Both programs can really use a win in this game. Missouri and North Carolina have been treading water the past three seasons. LITTLE CAESARS: What is this, a mid-September MAC-versus-Big Ten game, played in December

By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee  
I thought the SEC no longer has a tie-in to the Independence Bowl. Well, it wouldn’t be fair to the SEC’s newest member to accept them without experiencing Shreveport one last time.

By Russ Mitchell
One team heading to the SEC beating another team about to lose its in-state rival to the SEC. What? You mean you didn't know?

By Terry Johnson
The Missouri-North Carolina game is an excellent matchup between two teams that simply had a down year. However, both teams still have plenty of NFL-caliber talent. The matchup between Missouri’s rushing offense and UNC’s defense will be fun to watch.

By Phil Harrison
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN
One of the better non-BCS matchups. An underachieving Carolina squad against the wide open attack of Missouri. Set the DVR.
  
Best Bowl Moments
 
Best Tar Heel Bowl Moment: The Gator Bowl has been the scene of some of North Carolina’s biggest postseason triumphs, and nearly half of its 12 bowl wins. None was more impressive than the 1998 variety, which featured a 42-3 Tar Heel demolition of Virginia Tech. The blowout put an exclamation point on an 11-1 season, one of the most successful in Carolina history.

Best Tiger Bowl Moment: The 2005 comeback win over South Carolina in the Independence Bowl was nice, but Missouri’s biggest bowl conquests reside deep in the past, with nine New Year’s Day bowl games before 1971 and not one until 2007. A 21-14 defeat of Navy in the 1961 Orange Bowl ended a seven-game bowl losing streak, propelling the Tigers to No. 5 in the AP Poll and capping the best season in school history. In the win, the Mizzou defense held Navy’s 1960 Heisman winner, running back Joe Bellino, to just four yards on the ground.
 
Independence Bowl History
2010 Air Force 14, Georgia Tech 7
2009 Georgia 44, Texas A&M 20
2008 Louisiana Tech 17, No Illinois 10
2007 Alabama 30, Colorado 24
2006 Oklahoma St 34, Alabama 31
2005 South Carolina 38, Missouri 31
2004 Iowa State 17, Miami-Ohio 13
2003 Arkansas 27, Missouri 14
2002 Mississippi 27, Nebraska 23
2001Alabama 14, Iowa State 13
2000 Miss St. 43, Texas A&M 41
1999 Mississippi 27, Oklahoma 25
1998 Mississippi 35, Texas Tech 18
1997 LSU 27, Notre Dame 9
1996 Auburn 32, Army 29
1995 LSU 45, Michigan St 26
1994 Virginia 20, TCU 10
1993 Virginia Tech 45, Indiana 20
1992 Wake Forest 39, Oregon 35
1991 Georgia 24, Arkansas 15
1990 Louisiana Tech 34, Maryland 34
1989 Oregon 27, Tulsa 24
1988 Southern Miss 38, UTEP 18
1987 Washington 24, Tulane 12
1986 Mississippi 20, Texas Tech 17
1985 Minnesota 20, Clemson 13
1984 Air Force 23, Virginia Tech 7
1983 Air Force 9, Mississippi 3
1982 Wisconsin 14, Kansas State 3
1981 Texas A&M 33, Oklahoma St 16
1980 Southern Miss 16, McNeese State 14
1979 Syracuse 31, McNeese State 14
1978 East Carolina 35, Louisiana Tech 13
1977 Louisiana Tech 24, Louisville 14
1976 McNeese State 20, Tulsa 16

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