Tigers Fall Short in Tempe

[caption id="attachment_20" align="alignright" width="198" caption="Franklin showed improvement against ASU"]from columbiatribune.com[/caption]

Mizzou fans were concerned after their team struggled against the Miami Redhawks in Week One, myself included. This past Saturday though, they witnessed a pleasant but bittersweet surprise. The Arizona State Sun Devils gave Missouri their all and ended up with the win in OT. Yet, the fact that the Tigers were in overtime with Arizona St. meant this was a much-improved team. The Sun Devils happened to be ranked in the USA Today poll and the Sun Devil fans certainly showed up to make Tempe a hostile environment on this particular night.

Against Miami (OH), Franklin completed 17 passes out of his 26 attempts for 129 yards and lead the team in rushing with 72 yards. Fast-forward to this past weekend and Franklin does this: 26/42, 319 yds…27 carries, 84 yds. It was quite a turn around for the first-year starter. Maybe…just maybe the thing that kept Mizzou from winning was some impactful injuries. The Missouri tailback list was filled with four names in the beginning of the season.

[caption id="attachment_22" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Josey became the sole RB Saturday"]from patrickfallonphoto.com[/caption]

Come Saturday night, Henry Josey found himself alone pretty early into the game when De’Vion Moore went down with an ankle sprain. Moore was added onto an already long list that was made up of RB Kendial Lawerence, LB Will Ebner, DE Jaquies Smith, WR Jerrell Jackson and C Travis Ruth. Every player is officially number one on the depth chart. Ask Pinkel though and he won’t give you that excuse. Injuries happen to every team and what he believes makes up for that is execution and discipline. Last year, the team was in the top ten for least penalized teams in the nation. During the game, Missouri was flagged for eleven penalties, very un-Tiger like and it drove Pinkel absolutely crazy. If there was a chance for Missouri to win, it vanished with the costly penalties that night.

Mizzou faces Western Illinois this coming Saturday night. Western Illinois is a part of the FCS in the Missouri Valley Conference.

[caption id="attachment_24" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Mizzou faces W. Illinois this weekend"]from faniq.com[/caption]

If all goes as planned, it should be a tune up game for the Tigers as they prepare to face the Sooners at Norman the following weekend. Both Jerrell Jackson and Travis Ruth are expected to return to practice and play this Saturday barring any setbacks. What fans should hope to see is an improvement in discipline. Also, look at what Mizzou does with the tailback situation. Will TJ Moe really get a shot in the backfield? How will freshman RB Greg White and FB Jared Culver do? Pinkel is sure to test each of them out but won’t give away the farm for Oklahoma to see on film. Expect the Tigers to play conservative and just look to execute on both sides of the ball. After this game, conference play opens up and more tests wait for the Missouri.

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