Defensively A-State gave up some big plays but managed decent pressure despite rushing only three and four most of the game. While the obvious defensive talking points were Qushaun Lee and Kyle Coleman who were the leading tacklers, I was impressed by a couple of plays by Andrew Tryon, most notably a diving pass break-up that helped lead to a three and out and a corner blitz that ended up being a run to the opposite side of the field where he got the tackle. Artez Brown had four solo tackles, true freshman Money Hunter had five assisted tackles and Chris Stone posted a sack.
Adam Kennedy is showing weekly improvement. He tied the school record for completions with 37 on 46 attempts. Kennedy is making better decisions on the zone read and had a nice gain on a scramble when the pocket collapsed when he somehow managed to duck his 6'5" frame under a tackle and break loose.
J.D. McKissic and Julian Jones powered much of the offense accounting for a combined 25 of A-State's 37 receptions and 253 of Arkansas State's 307 receiving yards. McKissic added another 36 yards rushing on four carries with almost all of it coming on a 32 yard run.
Arkansas State had a productive day getting yards after contact.
Special teams, Brian Davis produced 13 points with four field goals and a PAT. Paul Jones punted three times for an average of 46.7 but the bigger stat was punt returns. Mizzou returned one punt for 13 yards and had a -3 return for an average of 5 yards. Missouri's best starting field position after an ASU kickoff was the 33.
A-State is struggling to run effectively between the tackles but comparing Arkansas State's rushing against FBS opponents in 2013 to rushing against FBS teams in 2011, the 2013 Red Wolves are averaging about 10 yards more per game and about 45 less than last season. The difficulties between the tackles are reflected in A-State's red zone performance having to often settle for field goals.
Grumble #1 about Missouri. The Tigers may be in the SEC (and I presume it is true since at least a third of fans wore T-shirts proclaiming SEC membership and the PA announcer mentioned it often) but their set-up for the visiting team press conference was a drooping tent that was leaking stored up rainwater outside. No amplification available so answers were drowned out by the constant background noise. Only a few chairs in the press area were wet but all were dirty. Stunningly bad set-up.
Grumble #2 about Missouri. We obviously are still working on building our brand but had fans before the game call us "Arizona State", "Alabama State", "Arkansas Red Wolves" and the cherry on top was their pre-game radio show talking about our back-to-back 10 game seasons and how Kennedy was a part of it.
Grumble #3 about Missouri. Traveling around SEC sites I've encountered incredibly friendly fans who welcome visiting fans and chat you up and invite you to their tailgate, and fans who taunt you without mercy. The Tiger fans before the game were just sort of there, mostly huddled over dinky grills cooking sausages with little to no acknowledgement an opposing fan was in the area. It was a strange environment more like a Big 10 pre-game than SEC.
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