Following his team’s impressive road win, the 93rd of his Missouri tenure, which ties him with Dan Devine for the second-most wins in school history, Coach Pinkel said that his team is better than it was a couple of weeks ago, but that the Tigers need to continue to improve.
“There was a lot of good things out there,” said Coach Pinkel. “It was a good win on the road for us.”
After Missouri led 14-0 at the end of the 1st quarter, Indiana seized the momentum and showed their quick strike ability, coming back to tie the score at 14-14 with 6:31 remaining in the 2nd quarter.
From there, James Franklin drove the Tigers 75 yards in 7 plays with the senior QB running it in from the 1-yard line to put Missouri back in the lead at 21-14.
Six plays later, Missouri junior defensive end Kony Ealy came up with the defensive play of the year for the Tigers, as he jumped up near the line of scrimmage, intercepted a pass at the Indiana 49-yard line, and returned it for a touchdown that put Missouri ahead 28-14, with 1:57 remaining in the first half. That was a remarkably athletic play, and it placed all of the momentum back on the Missouri side of the field.
The Missouri defense was dominant throughout the 1st & 3rd quarters. Two plays into the 4th quarter, Franklin found L’Damian Washington in the end zone from 14 yards out to put Missouri ahead 38-14.
“He’s really playing well,” said Coach Pinkel, speaking of his senior QB. “He made some great throws out there tonight. I’m really encouraged about him!”
Once again, Missouri was outstanding in the red zone, as the Tigers scored TDs on 4-of-5 red zone opportunities. Led by Franklin, who finished the night 32-47-2 for 343 yards and 2 TDs passing, and 61 yards and 1 TD on the ground, Missouri racked up 623 yards of total offense. Russell Hansbrough broke loose for a 45-yard TD in the 4th quarter, and finished with 13 carries for 104 yards and 1 TD, and Marcus Murphy rushed for 67 yards and 1 TD on 10 carries.
Defensively, Missouri allowed just 98 yards rushing on 26 carries. They gave up a couple of big plays, but for the most part, the Tigers really held the Hoosiers in check with good pressure up front that led to 3 interceptions, including Ealy’s, and one each by Kentrell Brothers and Darvin Ruise.
“We did some really good things,” continued Coach Pinkel. “We got three turnovers on defense………………………………… There were certainly a lot of good things there.”
Afterwards, Coach Pinkel seemed really upbeat. I’ve known for a while that he really likes this team, and one of the things he likes about them is that he recognizes that his team is committed to continuing to improve.
“We know that we can get better,” explained Coach Pinkel, who seems excited about just how good this team can become.