Game Week: Tiger Team Preview

How do the the Tigers look heading into their first road game of the year heading to Texas A&M

On Saturday (11:00 A.M., FSN), the #21/#19 Missouri Tigers (5-0,1-0) travel to College Station to take on the Texas A&M Aggies (3-2, 0-1).

The Tigers are coming off of a 26-0 shutout of Colorado, and will be playing outside of the state of Missouri for the first time this season when they face off against A&M on Kyle Field.

As of this writing, it appears that Missouri will, once again, be without their All-American defensive end, Aldon Smith. Former starting safety, Jasper Simmons, does return to the line-up, and will see plenty of action off the bench. Starting MLB, Will Ebner, is not at 100%, but he too, is expected to play. Former starter, MLB Luke Lambert, is expected to see plenty of action, and Andrew Wilson has also played very well in the middle this year. We may see Michael Sam get the start at the DE spot that he's been sharing with Brad Madison, and DT Marvin Foster was seen working with the second unit this week. QB Blaine Gabbert (hip pointer) insists that he will play on Saturday, and I would be surprised if he didn't at least start the game.

Gabbert's completion percentage of 66.7% ranks second in the Big 12 conference, behind Brandon Weeden's 69%. Gabbert ranks seventh in the Big 12 in both yards/pass attempt (6.83 yards/attempt) and in pass efficiency rating (133.6). Gabbert's interception ratio (1 INT/60 pass attempts) ranks as the fourth best in the conference.

If Gabbert is unable to start, or finish, the game, the Tigers will turn to true freshman, James Franklin. In limited action, Franklin has completed 79% of his passes, for 7.6 yards/attempt, and an efficiency rating of 151.46. Franklin is also averaging 6.2 yards/carry on the ground. Coach Pinkel indicated that he has confidence in Franklin, if the freshman is needed.

"He's a pretty poised young guy," said Coach Pinkel. "But, you earn that (confidence). Every player earns that confidence level from the coach or the team, at every position. It's not something that you're given. Certainly, I think (Franklin) went in in a tough situation, and I thought he did good."

Coach Pinkel indicated on Monday that he will continue to utilize all four of his running backs, including De'Vion Moore (5.4 yards/carry, 3 TDs), Kendial Lawrence (5.5 yards/carry, 1 TD), Henry Josey (7.3 yards/carry, 4 TDs), and Marcus Murphy (6.4 yards/carry, 1 TD).

"They're all good players," said Coach Pinkel.

Missouri has placed an emphasis on getting the ball more down field in their passing game. Their two nationally ranked inside receivers, T.J. Moe (8.8 receptions/game, 10.9 yards/reception, 2 TDs) and Michael Egnew (7.8 receptions/game, 9 yards/reception, 3 TDs), have accounted for 63% of Missouri's pass receptions. The Tigers' outside receivers have accounted for 28% of the team's receptions. Those outside receivers, Jerrell Jackson (2 TDs), Wes Kemp (1 TD), L'Damian Washington, Rolandis Woodland, and Brandon Gerau have combined for a per catch average of over 12 yards/reception.

In addition to improved consistency in the running game, the completion of more passes down the field, in effect stretching the field, would appear to be the two components that would most help to elevate the Missouri offense.

Defensively, Misouri is ranked 30th nationally (318.6 yards/game) in total defense, but are 3rd nationally, and number one in the Big 12, in scoring defense (11.2 points/game). The Tigers are also currently tied for 10th nationally in turnover margin (+1). This season, the Tigers have regularly rotated in about 20 players on defense. Coach Pinkel shared some of his thoughts about his defense.

"I think we're playing good team defense, basically," said Coach Pinkel. "I think we've also improved. I think those are the two things that kind of stand out. We're getting better each week. With a lot of the little things, attention to detail things, that we need to do. We haven't arrived in any way................. But, it seems like we're also playing real well as a team together, as a unit."

Texas A&M Head Coach Mike Sherman echoed Coach Pinkel's thoughts.

"They play defense as a team," said Coach Sherman. "They chase and run to the football. When it's passing, they do a great job of reading and dissecting what your intentions are on offense. If your linemen are showing pass in any way, shape, or form, they're dropping back into coverage. If it looks like it's going to be a run, they're going to have eleven guys around the football. I think they've shown tremendous tenacity and effort toward the ball."

Several of Missouri's defenders are coming off of career games against Colorado, including Terrell Resonno, Kip Edwards, Zaviar Gooden, and Jacquies Smith.

Ever since the schedule came out, people have pointed to Missouri's next four games, beginning with A&M, as a very tough stretch that would define Misouri's season. Most feel that Missouri has done what they should have, in arriving at this juncture undefeated. This week's game at A&M is expected to be a very tough assignment, but is also extremely important, as is every game, if the Tigers are to reach their goals.

Here's Missouri's recipe for success. Keep playing the tenacious defense that resulted in last week's shutout of the Buffaloes. Win the turnover battle. Winning the turnover battle by a wide margin would likely result in a victory. Win on special teams. Run the football effectively. Play catch. It sounds simple, but it won't be easy.

Missouri Overall Team Statistics (as of Oct 09, 2010) All games

Team Statistics MU OPP

SCORING 177 56 Points Per Game 35.4 11.2

FIRST DOWNS 112 88 Rushing 36 29 Passing 71 48 Penalty 5 11

RUSHING YARDAGE 735 646 Yards gained rushing 830 779 Yards lost rushing 95 133 Rushing Attempts 156 167 Average Per Rush 4.7 3.9 Average Per Game 147.0 129.2 TDs Rushing 12 3

PASSING YARDAGE 1336 947 Comp-Att-Int 131-194-4 106-178-9 Average Per Pass 6.9 5.3 Average Per Catch 10.2 8.9 Average Per Game 267.2 189.4 TDs Passing 8 3

TOTAL OFFENSE 2071 1593 Total Plays 350 345 Average Per Play 5.9 4.6 Average Per Game 414.2 318.6

Missouri Overall Individual Statistics (as of Oct 09, 2010) All games

Rushing gp-gs att gain loss net avg td lg avg/g Josey, Henry 5 - 0 31 240 14 226 7.3 4 62 45.2 Moore, De'Vion 5 - 3 36 200 4 196 5.4 3 27 39.2 Lawrence, Kendial 4 - 1 22 125 4 121 5.5 1 39 30.2 Murphy, Marcus 4 - 0 15 100 4 96 6.4 1 30 24.0 Franklin, James 3 - 0 12 74 0 74 6.2 1 34 24.7 Barrow, Trey 5 - 0 1 26 0 26 26.0 0 26 5.2 Moe, T.J. 5 - 5 2 8 0 8 4.0 0 7 1.6 Culver, Jared 5 - 0 1 2 0 2 2.0 0 2 0.4 Davis, Matt 2 - 0 1 0 3 -3 -3.0 0 0 -1.5 Gabbert, Blaine 5 - 5 29 55 59 -4 -0.1 2 11 -0.8 TEAM 4 - 0 6 0 7 -7 -1.2 0 0 -1.8 Total 5 156 830 95 735 4.7 12 62 147.0 Opponents 5 167 779 133 646 3.9 3 93 129.2

Passing gp-gs effic comp-att-int pct yds td lg avg/g Gabbert, Blaine 5 - 5 133.57 120-180-3 66.7 1230 7 68 246.0 Franklin, James 3 - 0 151.46 11-14-1 78.6 106 1 27 35.3 Total 5 134.86 131-194-4 67.5 1336 8 68 267.2 Opponents 5 99.69 106-178-9 59.6 947 3 45 189.4

Receiving gp-gs no. yds avg td lg avg/g Moe, T.J. 5 - 5 44 479 10.9 2 68 95.8 Egnew, Michael 5 - 5 39 350 9.0 3 29 70.0 Jackson, Jerrell 4 - 4 14 191 13.6 2 30 47.8 Kemp, Wes 5 - 5 13 142 10.9 1 33 28.4 Washington, L'Damian 5 - 1 5 35 7.0 0 11 7.0 McGaffie, Gahn 5 - 0 5 31 6.2 0 19 6.2 Gerau, Brandon 5 - 0 3 67 22.3 0 28 13.4 Woodland, Rolandis 5 - 0 2 14 7.0 0 9 2.8 Lawrence, Kendial 4 - 1 2 1 0.5 0 3 0.2 Josey, Henry 5 - 0 1 8 8.0 0 8 1.6 Jones, Andrew 5 - 0 1 7 7.0 0 7 1.4 Lucas, Marcus 3 - 0 1 6 6.0 0 6 2.0 Murphy, Marcus 4 - 0 1 5 5.0 0 5 1.2 Total 5 131 1336 10.2 8 68 267.2 Opponents 5 106 947 8.9 3 45 189.4

Punt Returns no. yds avg td lg Gettis, Carl 10 81 8.1 0 31 Sam, Michael 1 8 8.0 0 0 Edwards, Kip 1 4 4.0 0 4 Total 12 93 7.8 0 31 Opponents 10 37 3.7 0 13

Interceptions no. yds avg td lg Rutland, Kevin 2 39 19.5 0 24 Jackson, Kenji 2 48 24.0 0 32 Simmons, Jasper 1 0 0.0 0 0 Edwards, Kip 1 49 49.0 0 49 Sam, Michael 1 62 62.0 0 62 Gettis, Carl 1 2 2.0 0 2 Gachkar, Andrew 1 2 2.0 0 2 Total 9 202 22.4 0 62 Opponents 4 25 6.2 0 23

Kick Returns no. yds avg td lg Murphy, Marcus 6 122 20.3 0 39 Simmons, Jasper 3 60 20.0 0 22 McGaffie, Gahn 2 39 19.5 0 24 Gettis, Carl 2 16 8.0 0 11 Total 13 237 18.2 0 39 Opponents 31 687 22.2 0 53

Fumble Returns no. yds avg td lg Gettis, Carl 1 19 19.0 1 19 Total 1 19 19.0 1 19 Opponents 1 7 7.0 0 7

PAT Scoring td fg kick rush rcv pass dxp saf pts Ressel, Grant - 9-10 20-21 - - - - - 47 Josey, Henry 4 - - - - - - - 24 Egnew, Michael 3 - - - - - - - 18 Moore, De'Vion 3 - - - - - - - 18 Jackson, Jerrell 2 - - - - - - - 12 Gabbert, Blaine 2 - - - - - - - 12 Moe, T.J. 2 - - - - - - - 12 Murphy, Marcus 1 - - - - - - - 6 Franklin, James 1 - - - - - - - 6 Lawrence, Kendial 1 - - - - - - - 6 Kemp, Wes 1 - - - - - - - 6 Gettis, Carl 1 - - - - - - - 6 Sam, Michael - - - - - - - 1 2 TEAM - - - - - - - 1 2 Total 21 9-10 20-21 - - - - 2 177 Opponents 6 5-9 5-6 - - - - - 56


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