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CFN Take: Missouri, Murphy Destroy Florida

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 18, 2014


Missouri Tigers 2014 ... Head Coach: Gary Pinkel


Missouri Tigers

2014 Schedule
Record: 5-2

Aug. 30 So Dakota St W 38-18
Sep. 6 at Toledo W 49-24
Sep. 13 UCF W 38-10
Sep. 20 Indiana L 31-27
Sep. 27 at So Carolina W 21-20
Oct. 4 OPEN DATE
Oct. 11 Georgia L 34-0
Oct. 18 at Florida W 42-13
Oct. 25 Vanderbilt
Nov. 1 Kentucky
Nov. 8 OPEN DATE
Nov. 15 at Texas A&M
Nov. 22 at Tennessee
Nov. 29 Arkansas
Oct. 18 Missouri 42, at Florida 13
And You Care Because … It was the Marcus Murphy show as the Mizzou running back returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown, ran for a five-yard score, and returned a punt 83 yards for a touchdown as Missouri blew out to a 42-0 lead. The Missouri offense only generated 119 yards, but it didn’t need to do much thanks to a defense that forced six turnovers and for a 21-yard Markus Golden fumble return for a touchdown and a 46-yard interception return for a score from Darvin Ruise. In garbage time, Treon Harris threw a five-yard scoring pass to Tevin Westbrook and ran for a three-yard touchdown.
What Else? Penalties: Missouri 11 for 74 yards – Florida 3 for 39 yards
- Missouri RB Marcus Murphy ran eight times for 27 yards and a touchdown, returned four punts for 101 yards and a touchdown, and returned one kickoff 96 yards and a touchdown
- Florida QB Jeff Driskel completed 7-of-19 passes for 50 yards and two picks, Treon Harris completed 8-of-12 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown with an interception
- Missouri QB Maty Mauk completed 6-of-18 passes for 20 yards with an interception, and led the team with 38 yards on seven carries
Game Rating: D

Oct. 11 Georgia 34, at Missouri 0
And You Care Because … The Georgia defense dominated throughout, forcing four Maty Mauk picks, and the offense didn’t have a problem without Todd Gurley as Hutson Mason, Brendon Douglas, and Nick Chubb all ran touchdowns and Marshall Morgan connected on two field goals. The Tigers managed just 147 yards of total offense thanks to the Georgia dominant performance highlighted by Quincy Mauger coming up with two of the four interceptions.
What Else? Georgia RB Nick Chubb ran 38 times for 143 yards and a score
- Missouri QB Maty Mauk completed 9-of-21 passes for 97 yards and four interceptions, and finished with -14 rushing yards
- Georgia QB Hutson Mason completed 22-of-28 passes for 156 yards and a score, and ran for a touchdown
- 3rd down conversions: Georgia 12-of-21 – Missouri 0-of-7. Time off possession: Georgia 42:23 – Missouri 17:37
Game Rating: D

Sept. 27 Missouri 21, at South Carolina 20
And You Care Because … Maty Mauk had a rough night, but he was great when he had to be leading Missouri to 14 unanswered points with Russell Hansbrough running for two one-yard scores in the final seven minutes – including a fourth down play with 1:36 to go – to complete a stunning comeback. Hansbrough’s first touchdown from 18 yards out gave the Tiers a first quarter lead, but South Carolina came up with 20 straight points helped by a Mike Davis 17-yard run and a 23-yard Pharoh Cooper touchdown catch. But the Tiger defense held firm late and Mauk was able to come up with a few big plays to put the team in scoring position. South Carolina had one last shot, but the drive never got started with four missed passes.
What Else? Missouri QB Maty Mauk completed 12-of-34 passes for 132 yards
- South Carolina RB Mike Davis ran 22 times for 104 yards and a score
- Third down conversions: South Carolina 8-of-21 – Missouri 2-of-15
- Missouri yards over the first 52 minutes: 161. Missouri yards over the last eight minutes: 119
Game Rating: B+

Sept. 20 Indiana 31, at Missouri 27
And You Care Because … With one memorable drive, Indiana earned a much-needed statement win, especially for head coach Kevin Wilson. The Hoosiers went 75 yards in six plays, capping the drive with a D’Angelo Roberts touchdown run with 22 seconds left to beat No. 18 Missouri. It was Indiana’s first win over a top 20 team in eight years, and its first road win over a ranked team since 1987. The Tigers got the ball back after the Roberts score, but lacked the time to mount a comeback drive.
What Else? Hoosier RB Tevin Coleman rushed for 132 yards, his fifth straight 100-yard game, and a touchdown on 19 carries. He also caught three passes for 57 yards.
- Mizzou had few struggles moving the ball, amassing 498 yards. But the Tigers played their least efficient game of the season, scoring just one touchdown on three red-zone trips.
- Indiana winning in Columbia was a big surprise. It was a shocker that the Hoosiers were able to do so on an afternoon when the offense was 1-of-14 on third-down attempts. IU thrived on big plays and that timely drive to put away the Tigers.
- The Tigers had just two sacks, an unusually quiet night for the team’s pass rush. DE Markus Golden, who pulled his hamstring in practice this week, was sorely missed by Missouri.
Game Rating: A

Sept. 13 at Missouri 38, UCF 10
And You Care Because … Maty Mauk threw two touchdown passes to both Jimmie Hunt and Bud Sasser as Missouri rolled up a blowout win after a rough start. UCF took a 10-7 lead on a two-yard William Stanback touchdown catch, but Mizzou scored 31 unanswered points with Mauk finding Sasser from 22 and 21 yards out and Duron Singleton finishing things off with a fumble return for a score in the final seconds.
What Else? Maty Mauk continues to have issues with his accuracy, completing 14-of-24 passes, but he made them count with 144 yards and four scores with a pick.
- Missouri was able to run without much of a problem with Marcus Murphy taking off for 94 yards on 14 carries and the team averaging over five yards per pop.
- Turnovers killed UCF. The late one didn’t matter, but four on the day hurt any chances of keeping the early lead. Justin Holman threw for 209 yards with a touchdown and two picks.
- UCF LB Terrance Plummer led all defenders with 12 tackles and a tackle for loss, but Mizzou DE Shane Ray was the star making seven tackles with two sacks, a forced fumble and four tackles for loss.
Game Rating: C

Sept. 6 Missouri 49, at Toledo 24
And You Care Because … Maty Mauk blew open a tight game with five touchdown passes as Missouri took a 7-7 game and made it 35-7 in the middle of the third. Kareem Hunt ran for a 38-yard touchdown and two one-yard runs for Toledo, but Mauk put the game away with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Bud Sasser and a 12-yard throw to Jimmie Hunt.
What Else? Maty Mauk is still having an accuracy problem, completing 21-of-32 passes with two picks, but he threw for 325 yards and five touchdowns and ran for 36 yards and a score.
- Missouri didn’t have an answer for Kareem Hunt, who ran 15 times for 148 yards and three touchdowns and caught three passes for 12 yards, but the offense had to start throwing the ball after the floodgates opened.
- Tiger DE Markus Golden continues to show the speed and quickness off the ball that’s going to make him a star. He came up with six tackles with a sack and two tackles for loss, while Shane Ray made three tackles and two sacks.
- Toledo made too many mistakes. The secondary had problems, but the two turnovers and the nine penalties were a killer.
Game Rating: C+

Aug. 30 at Missouri 38, South Dakota State 18
And You Care Because … It was a bit of a fight, but Missouri got by with Maty Mauk throwing two first quarter touchdown passes to Darius White from 44 and 39 yards out around a 75-yard Zach Zenner touchdown run for SDSU. The Jackrabbits hung around, getting within three down 21-18 on a three-yard Zenner run, but Mizzou answered on a 100-yard Marcus Murphy kickoff return sparking a run of 17 unanswered points.
What Else? It wasn’t the dominant performance Mizzou might have wanted right out of the gate. Maty Mauk was okay, but considering accuracy was a bit of a question mark last year, going 13-of-21 wasn’t great. However, he hit on enough big plays to get by.
- Russell Hansbrough has the speed and quickness, and he showed it off with 126 yards and a score on 20 carries. It took a little too much effort for the ground game as it ground out the production, but there weren’t any home runs.
- How did the revamped pass rush do? Welcome to Markus Golden, who led the team with ten tackles with two sacks and three tackles for loss. He’s about to blow up as the next Michael Sam – expect a massive statistical season.
- Outside of the 75-yard Zach Zenner touchdown run, the Tigers were okay against the SDSU ground game. However, the secondary that struggled so much last season allowed Zach Lujan to complete 21-of-28 passes for 239 yards with a pick. There was a lot of bending, but little breaking.
Game Rating: C+

2014 Preview 

As much as 2013 might have been a shocker, doing it again in 2014 would be even more impressive.

It took a perfect storm of key things to happen for Mizzou to win the East and come within a few defensive stops of playing for the national title. Florida was destroyed by injuries, Georgia was banged up, South Carolina gagged against Tennessee, Johnny Football was playing on one leg when Texas A&M came to Columbia, and there weren’t any games against Alabama, LSU, or Auburn – before the SEC championship, of course. But give credit to a coaching staff and a program for being really, really good. There’s no such thing as a cheap SEC division title, and breaks or not, it was impressive.

Texas A&M might have taken the SEC by storm after coming over from the Big 12, but Missouri actually won something.

It’s really, really hard to win a division title in the SEC – remember, Alabama didn’t do that last year – and there are just enough problems and concerns to expect a repeat performance. That doesn’t mean this can’t be a successful season, and that doesn’t mean there will be a major step back and be a 5-7 season like 2012. The bar is set higher now, and that means 2014 will see if the Tigers can reload instead of needing to rebuild.

But look at what they have to deal with.

Florida appears to be ready to rebound and South Carolina might be better – both of those games are on the road. Texas A&M is dangerous again and Tennessee has improved – both of those games are on the road, too. However, overall the schedule isn’t that bad with no Alabama, LSU or Auburn to face, and the non-conference slate is difficult but manageable having to deal with a road game at Toledo along with home games against UCF and Indiana.

There’s no Michael Sam or Kony Ealy getting into the backfield, and there’s no Dorial Green-Beckham, L’Damian Washington or Marcus Lucas around anymore for the receiving corps. RB Henry Josey is gone, QB James Franklin is done, and the secondary that gave up 265 yards per game has to undergo an overhaul.

However, even with all of the key personnel losses, the Tigers are still loaded enough and talented enough to content. Mizzou always finds pass rushers, and it has a great tandem in Markus Golden and Shane Ray ready to shine. The receiving corps doesn’t have a DGB, but Bud Sasser and Jimmie Hunt are talents. Maty Mauk might just be better than Franklin, and the combination of Russell Hansbrough and Marcus Murphy will be more than fine in place of Josey. And as for the secondary … okay, that’s still going to be an issue.

Mizzou doesn’t want to think of it this way as a program, but it’s playing with house money now for a while. Gary Pinkel was on a hot seat after 2012, but he has proven a few times that he can get within national title range. The Tigers are still dangerous, but now they have to show they can be consistent in the SEC.

What to watch for on offense: The new skill guys. It’s rare for a team that finished 16th in the nation in total offense to potentially be better without its starting quarterback, top three wide receivers and a 1,166-yard, 16-touchdown rusher, but that could happen if the wideouts turn out to shine right away. As good a quarterback as James Franklin was, Maty Mauk has a bigger upside. The running backs are fast and talented – Henry Josey’s production won’t be missed – and the coaching staff has done a great job of stockpiling receiving weapons. The key will be a very good, very experienced line that was a major strength last season and should be again this year after all the parts are put into the right place. In other words, don’t expect the production to slow down.

What to watch for on defense: How fast can the secondary come together? Don’t expect much of a pass rushing drop-off after losing the 20 sacks of Michael Sam and Kony Ealy, but will that mean the secondary will be able to do more? The linebacking corps could turn out to be the biggest problem if Kentrell Brothers can’t be 100% after suffering a torn labrum, but the secondary needs a lot of work after losing star corner E.J. Gaines. Senior Braylon Webb is an unsung SEC star at strong safety, and there are some terrific young corners ready to rise up, but considering the team got torched for over 300 yards five times, couldn’t keep Connor Shaw in check in the big loss to South Carolina, and allowed quarterbacks to hit 63% of their passes, there’s a lot of work to do.

The team will be far better if… the defense doesn’t allow so many first downs. Time of possession wasn’t a problem, and coming up with third down stops wasn’t much of an issue until late against South Carolina and throughout the Auburn shootout. It’s only a little bit of a coincidence that those just happened to be the two games the Tigers allowed the most first downs – 28 against the Gamecocks and 30 against the Tigers. Going back to the last three games of 2012, Missouri has allowed 20 first downs or more in 11 of the last 17 games. To put this into perspective, Louisville led the nation in fewest first downs allowed, giving up just over 14 a game.

The Schedule: After all the drama and fun of last season, it’s possible the Tigers can do it again and roll through to another East title, but it’ll take some work on the road to get it done. Getting Texas A&M on the road in the interdivisional partnership of Big 12 teams stinks, and going to South Carolina should go a long way to determining the SEC East title, but dealing with improved Florida and Tennessee teams on the road won’t be walks in the park.

The non-conference schedule isn’t a peach, dealing with defending Fiesta Bowl champion UCF along with a high-powered Indiana team, but both of those are at home. Going to Gary Pinkel’s old stomping grounds at Toledo could be more dangerous than it should be for a defending SEC East champion. While it might seem a bit deceiving, only five games are coming against teams that went bowling, and the road trip to A&M is the only November date away from Faurot Field.

Best offensive player: Sophomore QB Maty Mauk. The best offensive player is actually center Evan Boehm, but it's Mauk who'll become the star. James Franklin got hurt midway through last season just when the Tigers had to deal with the meat of the East schedule facing Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee. Mauk stepped in and hit all three of his passes for 23 yards to help the Tigers get by Georgia, and while he struggled with his accuracy against the Gamecocks and Vols, he did a decent job before pitching five touchdown passes in the win over Kentucky. Corbin Berkstresser was supposed to push a bit for the starting job this offseason, but Mauk put an end to that in a hurry. Center Evan Boehm might be the all-star on the offense, and Marcus Murphy could turn out to be the most dynamic Tiger, but Mauk is going to be the star who makes everyone around him better.

Best defensive player: Senior DE Markus Golden. Welcome to the next pass rushing terror. He can do a little of everything right, and now that he has the full-time gig to himself at one end, watch out. Also keep an eye on safety Braylon Webb, who didn’t receive a whole bunch of attention last season, but came up with terrific year finishing second on the team with 89 tackles with three picks as a steady hitter for the defensive back seven. He had to make way too many tackles against Auburn – coming up with a season-high 12 stops – and got the job done all year long. Now he’s a desperately needed veteran in a rebuilding secondary.

Key player to a successful season: Junior LB Kentrell Brothers. The offense will turn out to be more than fine with several young players good enough to step into key roles and rock. The defense is another story with a terrific-looking line, a shaky secondary, and a banged up linebacking corps including Brothers, the team’s fourth-leading tackler last year who’s coming off a shoulder injury. The defensive back seven needs steady producers, especially with no real layups after starting out the year against South Dakota State. Brothers has to be a force against the run from his spot in the middle.

The season will be a success if ... the Tigers win nine games. It might seem like a huge letdown considering they were so close to doing something truly amazing, but it’s still the SEC, and it’s still really, really hard to get close to double-digit wins. If they can take care of the non-conference games, beat Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Arkansas at home and come up with a split in the road games against South Carolina, Florida, Texas A&M and Tennessee, that’s nine wins. That’s not going to be easy with so much overhaul on both sides of the ball.

Key game: Sept. 27 at South Carolina. It’s the Tigers’ SEC opener and it might be the toughest game on the slate. It’s asking for way too much to get anything like last year’s classic, but if Mizzou can somehow turn the tables and come up with the road win this time around, then it’s time to get serious about repeating as SEC East champions. If the Tigers are good enough to win this, they’re good enough to win every game the rest of the way. If they lose, they’ll probably have to be perfect to have a shot at the East title.

2013 Fun Stats:
- First Half Scoring: Missouri 294 – Opponents 128
- Sacks: Missouri 41 for 237 yards – Opponents 27 for 159 yards
- Penalties: Opponents 103 for 768 yards – Missouri 72 for 543 yards
 
- 2014 Missouri Preview - What You Need To Know & Top Players

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