The game started badly for the Missouri Tigers from the first play as QB James Franklin threw an unadvised ball intended for TE Michael Egnew that was intercepted at Missouri's own 21 yard line. From there things got no better in the first quarter as the Tigers were held to zero first downs and zero points unti the second quarter.
The sluggish Tigers continued to make penalties, mistakes and did not really start to click until the 4th quarter when they made a serious comeback bid that again fell short as it di in games against Arizona St. and Oklahoma.
Here is a break down of the games ups and downs for the Tigers.
No Quit In Them- They did not quit. Despite coming out flat and seemingly unprepared, the Tigers still showed fight in them with a 4th quarter comeback attempt. Although we have seen this story too much this year in all 3 of Missouri's losses.
Michael Egnew Sighting- While it was nice to see Engew enjoy a solid game with 8 catches on the day, it seemed a little forced at times and took the Tigers away from what had been a more natural flow of letting the offense develop under Franklin.
Jacquies Smith- Nice to see Jacquies return to action and be so effective with 8 tackles, 2 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss. Smith was active and stood out among Tiger defensive linemen who had their share of struggles at times. Especially nice to see with his counterpart Brad Madison not having the season most thought he would.
EJ Gaines - The Tiger cornerback played perhaps his best game with 8 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss.
Andrew Wilson- The Missouri linebacker continues to be one of the bright spots on defense this season as he led the team in tackles again with 13.
Offensive Game Plan- It appeared that the intent to get TE Michael Egnew backfired on the Tigers right from the start. Scripted plays for Franklin to follow appeared to have thrown him off his natural rhythm and strength of being able to find the open receivers and spread the ball around. The offense seemed to take a step backwards early and did not catch on until too late in the game. Yes, Egnew had 8 receptions, but what happened to WRs Marcus Lucas and L'Damien Washington, both of whom had been valuable in the passing game before this loss? Neither had a catch and did not appear to see the field much.
Red Zone Struggles- The Tigers offense is 9th in the Big 12 in scoring offense. Settling for field goals use instead of touchdowns had been a problem in the past. Now, All-American kicker Grant Ressel is struggling and even 3 points is hard to come by at times. What use to keep them in games is missing.
Penalties- It seems like a broken record, but the Tigers again had too many penalties which cost them at valuable times in the game. It is not surprising that they are the most penalized team in the Big 12 and 0-2 at the same time. Too many penalties and mistakes are being made.
Time of Possession- The Wildcats held a big time of possession advantage over the Tigers. A lot of that was due to a poor offensive performance and the Wildcats methodical ball control game. In the second half the Wildcats had the ball over 21 minutes to Missouri's 8.
Kicking Woes- Grant Ressel continued to struggle on his field goal attempts. Coach Pinkel showed confidence in him after his first miss but Ressel did not connect on his next attempt. Ressel had been a big part of Missouri's offense last year and leaving 6 points on the field was big in a close game.
Inconsistent Play- Rather then name names, I will say that there is inconsistent play along the offensive line,receiver, linebacker and in the defensive backfield. Certain positions need to be re-evaluated as far as personnel goes.
Offensive Player of the Week- Henry Josey ran for 57 yards and a TD on 12 carries for 4.6 average despite playing a little banged up.
Defensive Player of the Week- Jacquies Smith led the way with his defensive performance that included 2 sacks and some solid play against the run.
Special Teams Player of the Week- Trey Barrows averaged 47.6 yards per punt on 5 punts. Currently leads the Big 12 and is 2nd in the NCAA with a 47.88 average.