The Missouri Tigers came out fired up for their 100th Homecoming and jumped on Iowa State early and often taking a 21-3 lead by the end of the first quarter. From there the Tigers kept a steady pace on both offense and defense along the way for a 52-17 win which improved their record to 3-3 overall, 1-2 in the Big 12 conference.
Missouri used a steady dose of the run game starting out in the Pistol formation and kept the ball on the ground to start the game.They also used the I-formation more then we have seen in previous games to great success.
Henry Josey was again stellar, using his speed and elusiveness to pick up big chucks of yardage and finishing with 129 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown. Josey currently leads the Big 12 Conference, and ranks 9th nationally with 119 yards per game average. On the season he has 717 yards and 6 TDs on 74 carries for a 9.7 per-carry average that ranks 2nd in the country.
A healthier Kendail Lawrence also got into the rushing act by gaining 78 yards on 16 carries and scoring a touchdown.
Even with the INTs, Franklin had his best efficiency rating against an FBC team with a rating of 179.20 on the day, completing 20 of 28 passes for 289 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also added 84 yards rushing and 2 more touchdowns on the ground. Through 6 games Franklin ranks 11th in total offense in the NCAA, averaging 313 yards per game.
Defensively, the Tigers upped their game and responded well to some personnel changes. The defensive line applied more pressure and the coverage was better, which go hand in hand to being successful and getting to the quarterback.
Here is a break down of the Tigers ups and downs from the win over the Cyclones.
Zero Penalties- No coincidence that the Tigers have they most success in a game where they have no penalties. The focus was there from the start to finish. This was impressive considering the previous 5 games.
Run,Run,Run- Mizzou has developed one of the best rushing attacks in the country. Despite being better known for their spread offense passing attack, and sending their past three QBs to the NFL, the Tigers personnel is better suited at running the ball. They came out in the Pistol formation and caught Iowa State at a disadvantage in their 3-man front and capitalized on it with Franklin and Josey running the ball. Kendail Lawrence also got into the act. Franklin runs the option well and gives defenses a tough assignment to try and stop both him and Josey. The running game also sets up the play action passing game and that paid off with some nice gains as well. I also think the offensive line does a better job and seems more suited for lining up and opening running lanes. Josey does not need much of an opening to gain positive yards. The I-Formation was also very successful.
Michael Egnew- Michael has gotten back into the flow of the offense and it paid off. Egnew had a brilliant catch and run in the second half where he carried half the Cyclones team for big yards. I will say though that I am not a fan of the Egnew sweep play.
3rd Down Conversions-The Tigers were 9 of 14 on 3rd down conversions and made them at important times. What was nice to see was the success in short yardage in the I-Formation with Jared Culver doing some nice lead blocking.
Red Zone Scoring- The Tigers were 7 of 7 on their Red Zone chances. More importantly, six of them were for touchdowns, including some short runs near the goal line. In years past fans would cringe if the Tigers did not score from 20 yards out and beyond as it became an adventure if the Tigers needed to punch the ball in from close.
Kick Return Game- Henry Josey did an excellent job on kick returns using his explosiveness to average 35 yards per return on his two chances, including a 43 yard return that he almost broke for a touchdown. We have seen in the past what a difference a game-breaker can mean in the return game. One of the many problems against K-State was poor field position.
Washington/Lucas- Very nice game by L'Damian Washington and Marcus Lucas, who are difference makers in the vertical passing game. Washington dropped a pass that he should have, but still had 70 yards receiving with his 2 catches, and is averaging 21.9 yards per-catch. Lucas had 1 reception for 20 yards, but did a nice job blocking as did Washington. Both need to be in the game even more. Especially at critical times and on third and long. Still not understanding why less productive players are in there in their place.
Offensive Line Play- The Tiger offensive linemen like to run block. On Saturday it showed. I really like Jayson Palmgren at center and Jack Meiners at left guard as being the Tigers strongest unit both running the ball and with pass protection.
Luke Lambert- Luke played his best game of the season and was all over the field. That type of play is needed on a weekly basis for the Tigers to have their most success. Andrew Gachkar's play last year was probably overlooked by most.
Randy Ponder- The Walk-on got his opportunity and responded well in the nickel. Ponder was solid in coverage and against the run. He should have had an INT but hopefully he will get more chances at that. His play really helped lift the defense in my opinion.
Sheldon Richardson- Big Shel showed flashes of what he can do as he blew by the Cyclone guards on several occasions which led to 1.5 of his 4 tackles being for losses. He whiffed on a couple of chances, but he will continue to get better.
Pass Rush/Pass Coverage- The two usually go hand in hand for success. Brad Madison seemed to come to life along with the other D-ends and you saw better overall coverage in pass defense. There are still some soft zones in the defense that allows some quick passes to gain too many yards,but overall there was improvement.
DGB In The House- Number one target in the state and the country, Dorial Green-Beckham, was on hand for the 100th Homecoming and looked to be having a good time. DGB watched and clapped for the Tigers and seemed to acknowledge the crowd chants of "DGB,DGB,DGB".
Turnovers- I don't have as much of a problem with Bud Sasser's fumble as I do with James Franklin's interceptions, one of which was returned for a long touchdown. James regressed into floating the ball and trying to force a couple of his passes into coverage. He can throw the ball with nice velocity on it, but he doesn't have an arm like Gabbert, who could throw the ball into tighter coverage. The good thing is that it is correctable, and James did so as the game progressed.
Kick Off Coverage- I was pretty disappointed with both the distance on Ressel's kicks and the coverage downfield. Iowa State seemed to have an average starting position of around their own 35 or better.
Arm Tackling- Still seeing too much arm tackling and lack of wrapping players up at times. I know it's nitpicking after a 52-17 win, but against better teams it will be a problem.
Offensive Player of the Week- Henry Josey/ James Franklin- They were a two headed monster that was impossible for Iowa St. to stop for the most part, unless they stopped themselves. Franklin had 373 yards total offense and accounted for 5 TDs on the day. Josey had 129 yards rushing and a TD, and his kick off returns were also big.
Defensive Player of the Week- Luke Lambert- Lambert stepped up his game and played his best of the season. He had 7 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 tackle for loss and a pass break-up.
Special Teams Player of the Week- Henry Josey- Henry averaged 35 yards per return on his 2 chances and set a nice tone for the Tiger offense on the day.