Missouri-Oklahoma report card

So, yes, Missouri clearly got beat by a better football team Saturday. But who could have done better, and who got the job done with little reward? Inside Mizzou breaks down the game position by position.

Quarterbacks: B

For the first half, it looked like Brad Smith could pull the same kind of act he pulled last season against Oklahoma. He had time to run around and throw, and that 26-yard touchdown run was vintage Smith, though. But like the loss to Kansas, Smith could not innovate enough once the defense figured him out. He is still throwing too many passes either too high or behind the receiver. The only way to get a lot of yards against Oklahoma is to hit your receivers in stride, and Smith didn't do that.

Running backs: C-

It seem Zack Abron had the kind of running style that could bruise the Sooners. It didn't happen. He only had 10 carries for 11 yards. He got stuck again and again, and never made something out of nothing. Damien Nash hardly did better, averaging 2 yards a carry.

Wide Recievers: B

Brad Ekwerekwu was certainly a bright spot. His two long catches show how much he can help this offense spread out. Darius Outlaw also had a good day, especially getting when the plays broke down. But the key against Oklahoma has to be getting open early, and that rarely happened.

Offensive line: D+

The blame can't all go on the running backs for the stagnant rushing game. Holes were barely there. Hardly the semblance of a hole was there. Missouri's offensive line needed the best game of the season, and it was below average. It gave up six sacks, hardly acceptable when Missouri's offense needed all the help it could get.

Defensive line: C

Leave it up to Oklahoma to prevent Brian Smith from a sack for the first time this season. And leave it to Oklahoma to give its quarterback all the time he could ever need. On that fourth-and-6, Missouri did not get to the quarterback. On a zone blitz, it's necessary to get to the quarterback in relatively good time, because that zone will eventually open up a hole for a receiver.

Linebackers: C+

Once again, back to the fourth-and-6. The middle of the field was wide open. That's James Kinney and Brandon Barnes' territory. Kinney had only five tackles, including only one solo tackle. Kinney and Barnes were average in containing the run.

Secondary: C

Terrence Curry and Nino Williams had chances to change the game, and it didn't happen. Curry flat out dropped his interception chance, and he had an open field in front of him. Williams lost the battle to Mark Clayton, because Williams waited for the ball to come to him, and Clayton went and got the ball. Make no mistake, that was Williams' ball to get, not Clayton's. White didn't throw it particularly well, but Clayton showed what makes the difference between a good team and a great team.

Specials teams: C-

Missouri gave up a punt return for a touchdown, and that sealed the game for Oklahoma. As Pinkel pointed out, that punt, which was supposed to go out of bounds anyway, only had a 3.0 hangtime. Ruined a pretty good game for Todd Gohsler, too. Mike Matheny hit his two field goals, which has to be good for his confidence. But that punt return ruined all of Missouri's chance, and the Tigers have to be smarter than to allow that against such a good team.

Coaching: B-

The Tigers hung in there in the second half, and that says a lot for the attitude of the team. Pinkel wouldn't let them quit, and the defense especially didn't break down. He called for that punt to go out of bounds, and Gohsler didn't execute. He had Williams in the end zone for that ball to Clayton, and Williams couldn't make the interception. He called a zone blitz on fourth-and-6, and the blitz didn't get to White. It's hard to fault Pinkel here because his talent simply isn't the same as Bob Stoops is at Oklahoma. Pinkel didn't get outcoached Saturday, his team got outplayed.


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