The new look Tigers gave fans a scare in their home opener on Saturday, scratching out a 27-20 win against the Bowling Green Falcons. The Tigers have a different approach this season and it has showed with the defense and running game carrying the team, things the Tigers haven't relied on in the past.
Looking at the stat sheet, it is obvious the coaching staff wants to utilize their talent in the running game this year. Of the 77 offensive plays run by the Tigers on Saturday, 44 ended up being rushing plays. Starting running back Derrick Washington sees no problem with that style.
"With me running the ball that much, I think it's going to bring a lot more to the table for the team and for me," Washington said. "Hopefully we do this more often."
The commitment to the run was obvious late in the third quarter on a 3rd and 10 play when the coaching staff called for an inside run to Derrick Washington. The junior took it 18 yards for the first down and on the next play the Tigers put the ball in the end zone through the air.
"When coach made that call and I got up from the sideline I was like ‘Wow, they're about to give me the ball. I've got to get this first down,'" Washington said.
The Mizzou offense has a definite different look to it this year than in year's past, but Washington believes they score as well as Mizzou has in the last decade.
"With our run game we got going, and then Blaine, give him a couple more games and he's going to be the best quarterback in the nation in my opinion," Washington said.
With the commitment to the run came a lot of time running off the clock. The defense got a chance to rest on the sideline and it showed against Bowling Green.
"I think our run game did a great job pounding it against their team and that ended up helping us out a lot, because when we got a chance to get some breaks over on the sideline, it kind of give you a little more energy," senior captain Sean Weatherspoon said.
The key moments in the game for the defense came after some turnovers by the Mizzou offense deep in their own zone. The defense came in having to defend the Falcons inside the 25-yard line both times and both times they only allowed a field goal. Weatherspoon credits his guys for keeping the offense in the game.
"In order for us to go out there and get some stops and hold them to 3, that was so big for our offense," Weatherspoon said. "If you add those points, then they win the game."