Missouri 41 ... UNC 24
- Texas A&M going to the SEC West – problem. Missouri going to the SEC East – not a problem. This team was mid-level in the Big 12 this season, but it would've been in the mix to win the SEC East title.
- Teams that undergo coaching changes just aren't the same and aren't focused in bowl games. The Tar Heels are far better than they looked.
- UNC said all the right things about not caring about the coaching issues. The players didn't play like it.
- It's not like North Carolina had a pounding rushing attack this year, but Giovani Bernard is a 1,200-yard back. The Tar Heel attack did nothing – absolutely nothing – on the ground. The Tiger defensive front destroyed the UNC interior.
- The good news for UNC: Zach Brown made a ton of plays. The bad news: He had to make a ton of plays. The line didn't do its job.
- Quinton Coples wasn't awful, making four tackles with two tackles for loss with a hurry, but he wasn't the difference maker a top ten overall pick needs to be in a game like this.
- Bernard finished with 31 yards on 13 carries.
- And so ends everything about the great Butch Davis experiment with all the speculation over and Larry Fedora coming in. Davis might have burned the program, but he brought in a ton of top-shelf talent.
- James Franklin might have been the game's MVP, and he ran extremely well, but to nitpick, I want to see him do even more to push the passing game down the field next year. The Tiger receiving corps was too good this year to be as underutilized as it was. Tight end Michael Agnew should be better than three catches for 39 yards.
- But Franklin did do a good job of spreading the ball around.
- Finally, there's a bowl game between two BCS conference teams and it's played in front of 19 people and stuck on ESPN2.
- North Carolina's defense struggled too much this season on third downs, and that turned out to be a huge problem allowing Franklin and the Tigers convert 10-of-14 chances.
- Fun stat: Missouri hasn't won its last four games in a season since 1965.
Ohio State fans are a little less excited about having Everett Withers on staff than they were a week ago. His final game as North Carolina's interim head coach was an unmitigated disaster. It was clear that many of the Heels, especially those on defense, had no desire to be in Shreveport this evening.
A very talented Carolina D was lackluster, but go ahead and give a game ball to the Mizzou O-line, which dominated the game at the point of attack. From left to right, Justin Britt, Jayson Palmgren, Travis Ruth, Austin Wuebbels and Dan Hoch, probably won't get as many bouquets as they deserve for springing the Tigers ground game.
It's hard not to be enamored by the upside potential of Missouri QB James Franklin, who's just a sophomore. He's one of those dual-threats who doesn't appear to be moving at warp speed, yet still picks up 10 yards on the ground with almost effortless motion. Entering 2012, he could be the third best hurler in the SEC behind Georgia's Aaron Murray and Arkansas' Tyler Wilson.
The biggest challenge for new Carolina head coach Larry Fedora will be to maximize the talent of a program whose whole never seems to be as great as the sum of its parts. The Tar Heels have long been flush with next-level recruits, but have rarely been able to transform the bounty into titles or Top 25 finishes.
Fedora will also need to tweak the passing skills of young QB Bryn Renner. The sophomore is real close to being a complete player, but still needs to stop putting so much air beneath his long balls. It's a good thing for both parties that the new offense in Chapel Hill will be more about the quick strikes than the deep routes.
Missouri's first season-ending four-game winning streak since 1965 had plenty to do with coordinator Dave Steckel's defense. The Tigers have played much better over the last month or so, holding their four victims to an average of just 16 points a game. Carolina never got going on the ground, and didn't start moving the ball with success until the outcome was already decided.
- Well, the first three minutes worked well for the Heels, anyway.
- 31 straight Tiger points later...
- Don't for a minute think this was a UNC team playing at full tilt – everyone might have been saying the right things, but a head coaching change generates distraction, and all it took was one look at the UNC rushing attack to see that distraction in aces.
- That said, 36 yards? Tar Heels? Hello? 1.9 ypc? It's called pride. Look it up.
- Missouri's run defense was ranked 43rd in the nation heading into this game…you'd have thought they morphed into an SEC team…wait.
- Here's to Mizzou quarterback James Franklin. Usually when we hear that name in SEC country we think Vandy's head coach of the same name. Y'all are going to have to make some room for the Tigers' sophomore quarterback. 15/23 for 132 yards, 1 TD/1 INT, to go with a heart-stealing 142 yards on just 18 carries (8 ypc) and two touchdowns.
- By the way, while we're here, anyone that thinks Missouri is going to play in the East division long term is mad. ALL THEIR SPORTS? On the Atlantic seaboard? Gymnastics? Swimming? When they have history with Arkansas AND A&M? Don't kid yourself…the SEC is expanding to 16 teams sooner than you think.
Follow me on Twitter @RussMitchellCFB
By Matt Zemek
By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee
- World, meet James Franklin. The sophomore signal caller for the Missouri Tigers was fantastic vs. North Carolina. When Mizzou comes to the SEC in 2012, the James Franklin/Tyler Wilson/Aaron Murray battle for quarterback supremacy should be something to behold. Something tells me that Franklin will be more of a factor than SEC traditionalists would like.
- I love the way that Missouri's offense works. Gary Pinkel will certainly have to adjust some things against SEC defenses, but when it clicks, it's lethal. I can't wait to see how the transition goes.
- North Carolina played like a team whose coaches were more interested in finding new places of residence. That's a shame. After all that the UNC program has gone through the last few years, those seniors in blue deserved much, much more.
- If you can't run the ball, you usually don't win. The Tarheels proved that on Monday. That was a weak, listless effort.
- Wait...Advocare V100 isn't some sort of auto part? I honestly didn't know that.
- Yeah, it's Shreveport, and the Independence bowl is the butt of a lot of bowl season jokes. But you'd think that they could draw SOME people. An announced attendance of 41,728 is about 35,000 too many. There were more people working and participating at the game than there were paying to watch it.
By Terry Johnson
Please follow me on Twitter @TPJCollFootball
- Missouri let the college football world know that it is ready for the SEC by annihilating UNC 41-24. While the Tar Heels only had a 7-5 record, they have plenty of next-level talent, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
- Of course, the question still remains – can the spread offense thrive in the SEC?
- After watching Missouri obliterate UNC, do the Sugar Bowl officials regret selecting Virginia Tech over Kansas State? Judging by ticket sales, they should.
- The game ball goes to Missouri QB James Franklin. Franklin led the Tigers in rushing with 142 yards and 2 TDs. He also completed 15 of 23 passes for 132 yards and a TD. If he can put up numbers like this next season, he should emerge dark horse candidate for the Heisman Trophy.
- The Tiger front seven resembled an SEC unit this evening. The big uglies simply whipped North Carolina up front, holding the ‘Heels to only 36 yards on 19 carries. More impressively, almost half of that yardage came on one play.
- The offensive line did even better, shredding the nation's No. 14 rushing defense for 337 yards on 46 carries (7.3 yards per carry).
- QB Bryn Renner was the lone bright spot for the Tar Heels today. Renner completed 27 of 42 passes with 317 yards and 3 TDs. With offensive guru Larry Fedora taking the reins in Chapel Hill, Renner should be one of the most improved QB's in the nation next year.
- Even though most of those wearing Carolina blue would consider this season to be a disappointment, I have to commend UNC head coach Everett Withers. Withers became the head coach literally days before preseason camp was to begin. Despite all of the turmoil off the field, Withers did nothing to hurt his chances of remaining the team's head coach, leading the ‘Heels to a 7-5 record and a bowl game. Considering how the season started, that is quite a success.