Missouri's offensive struggles have been and will be dissected by many this week, but a standout performance on the defensive line was just as important as the disappointing production of the offense. Sophomore DE Xzavie Jackson recorded his first two sacks of the against the Cowboys and was in the backfield all afternoon.
It wasn't enough to yield a win, but Jackson's heightened contributions make an already strong defensive line that much better. After splitting time with fellow sophomore Brian Smith early in the season, Jackson has surged in recent weeks, with his breakout game coming against the Cowboys.
InsideMizzou spoke with Jackson on Monday afternoon...
On his performance against Oklahoma State: "It could have been better. Statistically, it was alright. Two sacks, two tackles, whatever. I think I could have had a lot more. I could have made a lot more plays if I had gotten off the blocks a little bit better."
On what led to his two-sack performance: "When I got my sacks this weekend, it felt kind of easy. I'm not saying that the offensive line was easy to go against; I'm just saying that I used my techniques that my coaches taught me and it worked. I was like, ‘Oh, OK, something works. They're not just feeding me a bunch of lines,' like some players think. I just went on in, used my fundamentals and came up with two."
On if the Tigers' place atop the Big 12 North makes their recent struggles easier to swallow: "No loss is easy to swallow. It's hard, but we think we can pull out of this, get a couple more victories -- no matter how they come, as long as we get them. Hold our place in the Big 12 North and just show up every Saturday. Hopefully, if we take care of our business these next four weeks, we can go into December (4th) and have fun."
On the Oklahoma State loss: "We didn't give 100 percent as a defense. We thought, 17-nil, shoot, the game is over. We didn't play for a whole 60 minutes. The last 30 minutes of the game, we quit on our team as a defense, we quit on the coaching staff. This week, we're just gonna come back and be like, ‘We can't do that.' We're gonna practice harder and practice ‘til the whistle blows. When the fat lady sings, the fat lady sings. That's when we're gonna play, until the fat lady sings."
On if having a big game against Nebraska helps him move on from a tough loss: "It's not really the game. The game is not what gets you up. Your preparation is what gets you up. 48-hour preparation helps you with everything that you do. If you got a great 48-hour preparation, then the outcome is gonna be good. Last week, we didn't have a good 48-hour preparation, obviously. We broke down a couple times and that breakdown gave them 20 points."
On the coaches' connection to players not being prepared: "It's not them. It's the players. We didn't do the necessary stuff in the 48-hour preparation to get the job done. They put us in the good situations; we just didn't get the job done. … We didn't do our necessary film study, writing down our necessary technique plays and whatever we're studying, stuff like that. We only did about 80 percent and it showed on the field."
On Nebraska: "Nebraska's a pretty nice team. Balanced, run and pass. They're gonna come out this year and pass a little bit more than they did last year. Our coaches are gonna put us in a situation like they did last year. We just gotta come out and stop them."