The Missouri Tigers opened their 2011 season at home on Saturday morning and beat a stubborn Miami (OH) team by a score of 17-6 on a hot, humid day at Faurot Field.
Afterward, Coach Pinkel praised their opponent, and expressed some frustration over the many penalties and mistakes that his team had committed in their season opener.
"First of all, Miami (OH) is a good football team," said Coach Pinkel. "We knew that coming in. I think you've got to give them a lot of credit. I thought we made more first-game mistakes than we've had for a long time. We had a lot of penalties. I felt that we kind of hurt our execution on both sides of the football. You know, we've got to get better. We've got to become a better football team. And, we've got to do it pretty fast, because we've got a big game coming up Friday night."
Missouri QB James Franklin had a solid debut at quarterback finishing the day 17 for 26 (65%) and 129 yards with 1 touchdown pass and 1 interception, while also running for 72 yards on 14 carries and 1 touchdown run.
Franklin got the Tigers on the board first at 4:23 in the first quarter with a 5 yard TD run.
Miami (OH) did a nice job with a quick passing game and put together some short gains while winning the time of possession game.
However, Missouri's defense played well and bent but did not break on the day.
The Tiger offense moved the ball on a 7 play drive ending on a 38 yard filed goal by Grant Ressel to big the Tigers a 10-0 lead in the 2nd quarter.
The Redhawks had a chance to score late in the half, but a big INT by EJ Gaines prevented them from scoring and preserved the Mizzou 10-0 score heading into halftime.
Miami did get on the scoreboard in the 3rd quarter as they were set up deep in the Missouri end on a Franklin interception that he forced into double coverage and overthrew his receiver. With the short field, Miami scored on a 10-yard run by running back Erik Finklea to make it 10-6 at the 7:55 mark in the 3rd quarter.
Missouri responded early in the 4th with a 5 play drive that resulted in a Franklin to Marcus Lucas 10 yard touchdown pass making the score 17-6 which held for the final score and gave the Tigers their first victory of the 2011 season and a 1-0 record.
The Missouri defense had a strong day led by LB Andrew Wilson with 10 tackles on the day and many big hits.
The Tiger run defense was very good holding the Redhawks to only 76 yards on 33 carries.
DE Brad Madison had 2 sacks on the day, his only 2 stops during the game.
DE Brayden Burnett came up with a big sack and forced fumble late in the game to help secure the win and stop a Redhawks drive.
The defense suffered a big loss when senior DE left the game early with an arm injury. Smith was later on the sideline with a cast on his left arm.
Offensively, while Franklin was the Tigers leading rusher, Henry Josey was second on the day with 43 yards on 6 carries for 43 yards.
Kemp made some big catches when it counted and had a nice day blocking.
Missouri sophomore WR Marcus Lucas scored a TD on his only reception on the day for 10-yards.
On the day, Missouri out-gained Miami (OH), 291 – 270, in total yards, and held a 2 – 1 advantage in turnover margin.
Missouri Offensive Stats
Total Offense- 291 yards
Rushing- 162 yards
Passing –129 yards
First Downs 15
3rd Down conversions 3/13
The Tigers opened their 2011 season with a solid first win. Miami played hard and gave the Tigers all they could handle.
New Tiger QB had a solid day, but struggled at times and missed some receivers, and floated some of his passes, one which led to the INT. Franklin did recover, as seen in practice when he goes through periods of streakiness, and finished the game strong.
There is room for improvement and the Tigers will need to execute better, and reduce the number of penalties in the future, as the schedule gets tougher.
"We did a lot of good things," explained Coach Pinkel, assessing his team's play. "But, the penalties kept them on the field a few times. …………………………………….. But, you've got to give them credit, too. Their QB is a real good player. Offensively, we were just real sporadic. A player makes a mistake here. Another one there. Another one over here. For the number of experienced players we have out there, that's a little disappointing. The good news is, if you get better, and become a better football team, you have a chance to compete."
Coach Pinkel talked about the play of his QB
"He did some real good things," explained Coach Pinkel. "I thought he settled down in the second half a little bit. He made some real key throws for us. I think he did some good things. Obviously, it was a poor decision on that one out route……………………………………. It was a real good effort, but he can get a lot better."
On the injury front, it appears that Will Ebner (ankle) and Jacquies Smith (arm) will miss some time.
The defense was the star of the day as a unit and won the day.
The Tigers had some moments where they missed some gap assignments, but they handled the Miami offense's running game well. The short passing game by Miami kept the Mizzou defensive line from teeing off on the QB for the most part, but the Tigers wound up with 3 sacks and controlled the line of scrimmage against the run.
Final Game Stats HERE