The Missouri Tigers (11-1, 7-1) secured a place in the SEC championship game by taking care of business at home against the Texas A&M Aggies (8-4, 4-4), with a 28-21 victory on Saturday night. In just their second season in the SEC, Missouri won the SEC East and will play the Auburn Tigers, who upset the Alabama Crimson Tide yesterday.
As the celebration in Columbia, Missouri rages on, take a few minutes to consider…
JAMES FRANKLIN: The senior quarterback stepped up big in this game. He completed 18 of his 28 pass attempts ( 64.3%), 233 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Just for good measure, James Franklin ran for 80 yards on 18 carries. Franklin didn’t turn the ball over and managed his offense with calm effectiveness. He has matured into a terrific college quarterback and he shouldn’t be underestimated against Auburn.
THE RUNNING GAME: With three and a half minutes to go in the fourth quarter, senior running back Henry Josey cut behind a wall of blockers, darted up field, and out ran all defenders for 57 yards to put the Tigers ahead for good. The touchdown by Josey capped of a strong night of running the ball by Missouri. Josey, Franklin, and Ryan Hansbrough did what they have done all season – controlled the ballgame by running the ball. These three players racked up 224 yards on 39 carries.
PASS DEFENSE: The Tigers pass defense contained the high powered Aggie passing game better than any team all year. Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel connected on 24 of his 35 pass attempts (68.6%) but for only 195 yards. This total was the lowest yardage total for Manziel since week one, when he sat out most of the game due to a suspension. They also contained him on the ground, as Manziel only ran for 21 yards on 11 carries.
RESPECT: The Missouri Tigers have silenced all naysayers, including myself, who thought moving to the SEC was a horrible move by the university. The Tigers have enforced their will on their new conference, and doing what most thought impossible – they are winning in what most consider the toughest conference in the college game.