Against Texas A&M, in his fourth start of the season, red-shirt freshman QB Corbin Berkstresser played with as much promise as at any time this year, as he finished 20-38-1 for a career-high 277 yards and 2 TDs passing. His 7.3 yards/pass attempt is adequate, but the 53% completion rate is not.
Despite losing at the line of scrimmage again, Missouri was able to put together some offense later in the game. Kendial Lawrence's 87 rushing yards brought his season total to 1025, a considerable achievement for the senior considering the problems that the Tigers experienced all season along the offensive line.
This game served as a sharp contrast, in that Texas A&M has played all year with an intact, very, very good offensive line that includes a couple of NFL-ready offensive tackles. Texas A&M's sensational QB, Heisman Trophy front-runner Johnny Manziel, often had 5 seconds or more to survey the field for an open receiver. And, when time did run out, Manziel was able to elude would-be tacklers, and extend plays until someone did come open, or he would run for sizable gains.
Afterwards, Coach Pinkel talked about how his defense failed to contain Manziel. But he was quick to point out that other teams, even Alabama, had also failed to contain the talented play maker.
Having the Tigers' best pass-rusher, Sheldon Richardson, drop back from the line of scrimmage in a zone blitz package proved to be ineffective. In all, there just wasn't much that the Missouri defense did that worked against Manziel and the Aggies.
Texas A&M jumped out in front early, as they have done against most opponents this season. The Tigers failed to pressure Manziel, and the Missouri secondary was unable to cover the Aggies' receivers for the necessary length of time.
Among the Missouri seniors, only Lawrence and Kip Edwards played well enough to win. The play of Mizzou's senior LBs, and senior safety, were particularly disappointing.
The play of junior LB Andrew Wilson, and junior corner E.J. Gaines was particularly encouraging, as has usually been the case. Gaines made an outstanding play for an interception along the sideline. It was also encouraging to see junior LB Donovan Bonner, and RSF LB Kentrell Brothers get extended playing time, as well as RSF safety Ian Simon.
On the day, Missouri gained 465 yards of total offense, and averaged 6.3 yards/play. But, 29 points wasn't even half enough to beat the