Game Week: Missouri vs Illinois

The Tigers are ready for their last showdown in the dome with the Fighting Illini

On Saturday at the Edwards Jones Dome in St. Louis (11:30 A.M., FSN), the Missouri Tigers kick off their 2010 season opener against the Illinois Fighting Illini. The Tigers enter this year's contest riding a five game win streak against the Illini in St. Louis. This year's Arch Rivalry contest is the final installment in this most recent series of annual openers played in St. Louis between the two schools. The series may be resumed in the future. According to Missouri Athletic Director Mike Alden, Missouri wants to continue the series, but it appears that Illinois doesn't.

For unranked and underrated Missouri, this season's opener is a chance at redemption following a disappointing and embarrassing loss to Navy in the Texas Bowl last December. But, it will take more than a win over Illinois to erase the imagery of that debacle and restore widespread confidence in Missouri's program. For the Tigers, this is game number one, the next game on the schedule, and the present opportunity at hand to take a step toward regaining respectability. This 2010 Missouri team has a lot to prove.

What is proven is that Coach Pinkel has the program moving in the right direction. The current edition may be the most talented Missouri team of Coach Pinkel's tenure, and pre-season camp was very physical amid serious competition for starting spots, and simply to get on the field. This Missouri team is deeper almost everywhere on the roster than any that Coach Pinkel has fielded. After signing his best recruiting class at Missouri in 2010, Coach Pinkel enters this season with a young team (only 10 scholarship seniors on the roster), yet it appears that fewer than half of Missouri's true freshmen will play this year, meaning that much of his best recruiting class will be stockpiled, because the young players in front of them are just that good.

"I'm excited about the game in St. Louis," said Coach Pinkel. "St. Louis does a great job of putting on this game. We all know it's a bowl-type atmosphere. It's exciting for our players. It's certainly exciting for our fans. It's always difficult to play a game of this magnitude starting off the season. You have to be good right out of the chute. As we all want to improve, and become a better football team as the season goes on, you know this is the kind of game where you have to play well right away."

"There's certainly new coordinators," Coach Pinkel continued, talking about what to expect from Illinois. "That presents certainly some concerns in terms of preparation and in terms of what we're going to see and what we have to go against. So therefore, we have to be kind of careful on both sides of the football. I think they're a real good football team. I think Ron Zook is a good football coach. He's a friend. They're very athletic. First games are scary for everybody, because you really don't know what you've got until you get out there. We've got to prepare for everything and anything. But, we're excited about it. It's great that it's game week, and our players are excited about it. We've done a lot of preparation, and it's time to play, and see where we're at."

Look for Missouri to be balanced on offense, mixing in the run and the pass. Look for improvement in QB Blaine Gabbert and the offensive line. There have been times during fall camp when the Tigers' starting offensive line has opened up huge running lanes. Can they continue that level of proficiency against someone not wearing black and gold? The final two weeks or so of camp, Blaine Gabbert was consistently ompleting well over 80% of his passes. Toward the end of camp, few balls were hitting the ground. Look for the emergence of a handful of relatively unknown receivers, including TE Michael Egnew and T.J. Moe, among others. Look for improvement in the running game, and the inclusion of the TBs in the passing game.

Look for improvement on the defensive side of the ball, where Aldon Smith and Dominique Hamilton lead the charge up front, and Zaviar Gooden, Carl Gettis, and Jasper Simmons appear to be poised for career years. It will be interesting to see if a year of experience, and the emphasis on being more aggressive, will result in improved play in the secondary.

The Tigers punting and kicking will be solid, but they need to get a lot better on coverage, and there's room for improvement in the return game.

Missouri players on Monday talked about how they're looking forward to playing against another team. They appear to me to be geared up for their season opener. The Tigers are confident, and they're ready to get it started.

Probable Starters: Offense

 

Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Year
QB 11 Blaine Gabbert 6'5" 230 Jr.
TB 4 Kendial Lawrence 5'9" 190 So.
TB 26 De'Vion Moore 5'9" 195 Jr.
H-WR 28 T.T. Moe 6'0" 200 So.
X-WR 29 Jerrell Jackson 6'1" 190 Jr.
Z-WR 8 Wes Kemp 6'4" 220 Jr.
TE 82 Michael Egnew 6'6" 235 Jr.
LT 72 Elvis Fisher 6'5" 295 Jr.
LG 71 Jayson Palmgren 6'2" 305 Jr.
C 62 Tim Barnes 6'4" 300 Sr.
RG 66 Austin Wuebbles 6'4" 300 Jr.
RT 77 Dan Hoch 6'7" 315 Jr.
Key Offensive Reserves    
QB 1 James Franklin 6'2" 223 Fr.
WR 2 L'Damian Washington 6'4" 190 RS-Fr.
WR 5 Rolandis Woodland 6'3" 200 So.
TE 87 Andrew Jones 6'5" 240 Jr.
TB 41 Henry Josey 5'10" 180 Fr.
TB 43 Marcus Murphy 5'9" 180 Fr.
OG 68 Justin Britt 6'5" 295  
           

 

Probable Starters Defense:

Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Year
DE 3 Jaquies Smith 6'4" 255 Jr.
DT 93 Terrell Resonno 6'5" 295 Jr.
Nose 90 Dominique Hamilton 6'5" 305 Jr.
DE 85 Aldon Smith 6'5" 260 So.
WLB 25 Zaviar Gooden 6'2" 225 So.
MLB 33 Luke Lambert 6'3" 230 Sr.
SLB 6 Andrew Gachkar 6'3" 228 Sr.
FS 9 Jasper Simmons 6'1" 205 Sr.
SS 13 Kenji Jackson 5'10" 195 Jr.
CB 19 Carl Gettis 5'11" 195 Sr.
CB 20 Kevin Rutland 6'0" 190 Sr.
Key Defensive Reserves      
CB 1 Kip Edwards 6'1' 200 So.
SS 11 Jarrell Harrison 6'2" 210 Sr.
DE 52 Michael Sam 6'3" 245 RS-Fr.
DE 18 Marcus Malbrough 6'5" 240 So.
LB 48 Andrew Wilson 6'3" 225 RS-Fr.

2009 Mizzou Tiger Football Missouri Combined Team Statistics (as of Jan 02, 2010) All games

Rushing gp-gs att gain loss net avg td lg avg/g Washington, Derrick 13-13 190 909 44 865 4.6 10 42 66.5 Moore, De'Vion 11-1 63 272 14 258 4.1 1 31 23.5 Lawrence, Kendial 11-0 52 236 17 219 4.2 0 22 19.9 Gabbert, Blaine 13-13 103 426 222 204 2.0 3 40 15.7 Jackson, Jerrell 13-6 11 96 4 92 8.4 1 37 7.1 Moye, Gilbert 11-0 6 36 1 35 5.8 0 17 3.2 Alexander, Danario 13-13 1 10 0 10 10.0 0 10 0.8 Perry, Jared 11-11 2 7 0 7 3.5 0 5 0.6 Costello, Jimmy 3 - 0 2 0 6 -6 -3.0 0 0 -2.0 TEAM 12-0 14 2 35 -33 -2.4 0 2 -2.8 Total 13 444 1994 343 1651 3.7 15 42 127.0 Opponents 13 463 1927 385 1542 3.3 17 41 118.6

Passing gp-gs effic comp-att-int pct yds td lg avg/g Gabbert, Blaine 13-13 140.45 262-445-9 58.9 3593 24 84 276.4 Costello, Jimmy 3 - 0 61.04 9-17-2 52.9 64 0 16 21.3 Alexander, Danario 13-13 383.00 1-2-0 50.0 40 1 40 3.1 TEAM 12-0 0.00 0-1-0 0.0 0 0 0 0.0 Shock, Forrest 12-0 631.60 1-1-0 100.0 24 1 24 2.0 Washington, Derrick 13-13 16.00 1-1-0 100.0 -10 0 0 -0.8 Total 13 139.08 274-467-11 58.7 3711 26 84 285.5 Opponents 13 132.55 305-475-8 64.2 3269 20 74 251.5

Receiving gp-gs no. yds avg td lg avg/g Alexander, Danario 13-13 113 1781 15.8 14 84 137.0 Perry, Jared 11-11 46 696 15.1 6 48 63.3 Jackson, Jerrell 13-6 37 458 12.4 2 70 35.2 Washington, Derrick 13-13 26 156 6.0 0 36 12.0 Kemp, Wes 13-12 23 418 18.2 3 56 32.2 Jones, Andrew 13-8 8 43 5.4 0 11 3.3 Woodland, Rolandis 8 - 0 5 26 5.2 0 8 3.2 Lawrence, Kendial 11-0 3 49 16.3 0 33 4.5 Egnew, Michael 12-0 3 25 8.3 0 11 2.1 Moore, De'Vion 11-1 3 13 4.3 0 12 1.2 Gerau, Brandon 13-1 2 19 9.5 0 14 1.5 Moe, T.J. 10-0 2 8 4.0 0 4 0.8 Smith, Jacquies 13-5 1 24 24.0 1 24 1.8 Moye, Gilbert 11-0 1 5 5.0 0 5 0.5 Gabbert, Blaine 13-13 1 -10 -10.0 0 0 -0.8 Total 13 274 3711 13.5 26 84 285.5 Opponents 13 305 3269 10.7 20 74 251.5

Field Goals fg pct. 01-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 lg blk Ressel, Grant 26-27 96.3 0-0 9-9 10-10 7-8 0-0 46 0

Punting no. yds avg lg tb fc i20 50+ blk Harry IV, Jake 61 2609 42.8 69 2 15 23 13 0

Missouri Overall Defensive Statistics (as of Jan 02, 2010) All games Tackles Sacks Pass defense Fumbles blkd ## Defensive Leaders gp-gs ua a tot tfl/yds no-yds int-yds brup qbh rcv-yds ff kick saf 12 Weatherspoon, Sean 13-13 76 35 111 14.5-44 4.5-21 1-6 2 1 . 1 . . 6 Gachkar, Andrew 13-13 51 29 80 3.5-33 3.0-32 . . . 3-0 1 1 . 32 Ebner, Will 12-7 46 32 78 9.5-49 3.5-33 . 1 . 1-0 1 . . 9 Simmons, Jasper 13-12 52 21 73 3.0-5 . 1-0 2 . 1-8 2 . . 85 Smith, Aldon 13-12 46 18 64 19.0-126 11.5-99 . 5 . 1-0 1 . . 19 Gettis, Carl 13-13 47 14 61 1.0-2 . . 5 . 2-20 2 . . 11 Harrison, Jarrell 11-6 36 11 47 2.0-8 1.0-7 1-27 3 . . . . 1 20 Rutland, Kevin 13-13 40 7 47 2.0-16 1.0-14 2-0 2 . 1-0 1 . . 90 Hamilton, Dominique 13-12 20 26 46 5.5-15 1.0-8 . 1 . . . . 1 2 Coulter, Brian 13-9 29 15 44 3.5-17 2.0-14 . . 3 1-0 . . . 13 Jackson, Kenji 12-5 26 15 41 1.0-3 . . 1 . . . . . 3 Smith, Jacquies 13-5 23 16 39 4.0-10 1.5-5 1-43 1 2 1-0 2 . . 25 Gooden, Zaviar 13-0 23 7 30 3.0-6 . . 1 . 1-1 1 . . 96 Baston, Jaron 13-13 16 9 25 2.5-10 1.5-6 . 2 1 . . . . 33 Lambert, Luke 6-6 14 6 20 . . . . . . . . . 1 Edwards, Kip 13-0 16 4 20 . . 1-10 2 . . . . . 31 Hobson, Trey 12-0 13 4 17 1.0-11 . . . . . . . . 22 Steeples, Robert 12-0 11 4 15 1.0-5 1.0-5 . 4 . . 1 . . 93 Resonno, Terrell 13-1 4 9 13 1.5-1 . . . . . . . . 21 Bonner, Donovan 12-0 7 2 9 1.0-3 . . . . . . . . 4R Ricks, Hardy 8-0 5 3 8 . . 1-16 . . . . . . 18 Malbrough, Marcus 12-0 4 2 6 1.5-9 . . . . 1-0 . . . 7 Prince, Munir 8-0 3 3 6 . . . . . . . . . 49 Willett, Chris 8-0 2 3 5 . . . . . . . . . 91 Mills, Tanner 11-0 3 1 4 . . . . . . . . . 15 Howard, Del 9-0 1 3 4 . . . . . 1-0 . . . 39 Crane, Tyler 11-0 4 . 4 . . . . . . . . . 86 Brinkley, Beau 13-0 1 2 3 . . . . . . . . . 4 Perry, Jared 11-11 1 2 3 . . . . . . . . . 11 Gabbert, Blaine 13-13 3 . 3 . . . . . . . . . 8 Kemp, Wes 13-12 2 . 2 . . . . . . . . . 38 Culver, Jared 7-0 2 . 2 . . . . . . . . . 95 Ressel, Grant 13-0 1 1 2 . . . . . . . . . 57 Madison, Brad 12-0 . 1 1 . . . 2 . . . . . 77 Hoch, Dan 13-13 1 . 1 . . . . . . . . . 72 Fisher, Elvis 13-13 1 . 1 . . . . . . . . . 62 Barnes, Tim 13-13 1 . 1 . . . . . . . . . TM TEAM 12-0 1 . 1 1.0-4 . . . . 1-0 . . 2 81 Alexander, Danario 13-13 1 . 1 . . . . . . . . . 99 White, George 2-0 . . . . . . . 1 . . . . Total 13 633 305 938 81-377 31-244 8-102 34 8 15-29 13 1 4 Opponents 13 540 373 913 76-326 20-191 11-231 53 14 8-0 12 1


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