MISSOURI TIGERS – 62 SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA - 10

MISSOURI TIGERS – 62 SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA - 10

KCKingdom
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Mizzou Destroys SE Louisiana 62-10 In Season Opener

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MISSOURI TIGERS – 62 SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA – 10

In the school’s first game as a member of the SEC, the Missouri Tigers opened the 2012 season with a 62-10 rout over Southeastern Louisiana Saturday night at Faurot Field.

In their flashy new uniforms, the Tigers started the onslaught with an 11 play, 75 yard drive capped by a two yard touchdown pass from James Franklin to a diving T.J. Moe on the opening possession of the game. Franklin had a 29 yard run and a 19 yard completion to Bud Sasser on the drive.

Southeastern Louisiana’s first possession didn’t go as well as quarterback Nathan Stanley’s pass on the second play of the drive was sniffed out and picked off by Zaviar Gooden and taken back for a 20 yard touchdown return to make it 14-0 Tigers in less than five minutes.

On Mizzou’s first play of their second possession, starting tailback Kendial Lawrence exploded past everyone on the sideline for a career long 76 yard touchdown run which gave the Tigers a 21-0 lead.

20 seconds later, the Mizzou defense forced another turnover. Defensive end Kony Ealy forced a fumble on a big hit on Stanley and fellow defensive end Michael Sam ran it in seven years for a touchdown to make it 28-0 Tigers in a little under eight minutes.

The rout was on.

However with the rain starting to pour down with a big lead over an inferior opponent, the Mizzou offense went into a little bit of a lull in the second quarter. You could tell the focus wasn’t all there and with the rain and wet field conditions, as well as some shaky interior line play, the passing game couldn’t really find a rhythm.

Heralded freshman Dorial Green-Beckham registered his first career reception with three minutes to go in the first quarter on a six yard tunnel screen and received a loud ovation after the catch and run. Green-Beckham added a very impressive 29 yard leaping catch along the sideline later on and finished with 3 catches for 32 yards in his collegiate debut.

Southeastern Louisiana finally got on the board with a 31 yard field goal at the end of the second quarter to make it 28-3 Mizzou going into halftime.

However the Tigers increased that lead right away after Mizzou recovered another fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half. Franklin hit T.J. Moe over the middle for a 20 yard hookup and then Lawrence ran it in from a yard out for his second touchdown of the day to extend Mizzou’s lead to 34-3 (Missed PAT).

16 seconds later, Mizzou forced and recovered another Lions’ fumble, but the Tigers couldn’t convert a fourth down and 12 on the SLU 32 yard line.

After an SLU three and out midway through the third quarter, Marcus Murphy zig zagged his way for an electrifying 70 yard punt return touchdown to put the Tigers up 41-3.

With only 18 minutes to go and up by 38 points, head coach Gary Pinkel took Franklin and a few other offensive starters out of the game and backup quarterback Corbin Berkstresser came in for his first action as a Missouri Tiger.

Berkstesser was impressive. The redshirt freshman went 4 for 4 on his first drive, including a bullet 17 yard completion to L’Damian Washington, capped off with a 10 yard touchdown pass to promising redshirt sophomore Jimmie Hunt over the middle to extend the Tigers lead to 48-3 heading into the fourth quarter.

After another SE Louisiana three and out, Berkstresser led the Tigers on another touchdown drive highlighted by a nice 33 yard strike to Hunt on the sideline and finished by himself on a one yard touchdown plunge. Berkstresser completed the day 6/6 for 60 yards and two touchdowns.

Another SLU three and out. Another Mizzou score. Another Marcus Murphy punt return touchdown!?

Yes. The redshirt sophomore, who missed all of 2011 with a shoulder injury, ran another one back for 72 yards making him the first player in Missouri history to return two punts for a touchdown in one game. Murphy also broke the Mizzou single game record for punt return yards with 180 on the night.

Murphy definitely looks like the best returner the Tigers have had since the great Jeremy Maclin. The 5’9, 185 speedster from DeSoto, Texas has the blazing speed, quickness, moves and vision to be the gamebreaking returner the Tigers have lacked since Maclin left for the NFL.

Southeastern Louisiana finally got in the end zone during garbage time against Mizzou’s backups, but it was too little, too late, obviously.

TEAM STATS:

TOTAL YARDS: MU – 456 SLU – 230

PASSING YARDS: MU – 191 SLU – 170

RUSHING YARDS: MU – 265 SLU – 60

3RD DOWNS: MU – 3/10 SLU – 5/16

1ST DOWNS: MU – 20 SLU – 14

TURNOVERS: MU – 0 SLU – 4

PENALTIES: MU – 8 (83 YDS) SLU – 9 (66 YDS)

POSSESSION: MU – 25:33 SLU – 34:27

MIZZOU LEADERS:

PASSING: Franklin – 13/21 (61.9%), 131 yds (6.2 YPA), 1 TD, 0 INT, Berkstresser – 6/6 (100%), 60 yds (12 YPA), 1 TD, 0 INT

RUSHING: Lawrence – 10 carries, 121 yds (12.1 YPC), 2 TD, Franklin – 6 carries, 39 yds (6.5 YPC), Murphy – 5 carries, 32 yds (6.4 YPC), Berkstresser – 5 carries, 25 yds (5 YPC), 1 TD, Hansbrough – 4 carries, 19 yds (4.8 YPC), Moe – 3 carries, 16 yds (5.3 YPC)

RECEIVING: Hunt – 2 catches, 43 yds, 1 TD, Washington – 2 catches, 33 yds, Green-Beckham – 3 catches, 32 yds, Lucas – 3 catches, 30 yds, Moe – 3 catches, 26 yds, 1 TD, Sasser – 1 catch, 19 yds, Waters – 2 catches, 9 yds

PLAYERS OF THE GAME:

OFFENSE: Kendial Lawrence – Lawrence gets my offensive player of the game award with his 121 yards on the ground and two touchdowns including a career long 76 yard touchdown where he blazed past everyone along the sideline. Lawrence, who according to coach Pinkel had the best offseason of any running back he’s had, looks to have a big season if he can stay healthy.

DEFENSE: Zaviar Gooden – The future pro led all Tigers with six tackles on the night, including two tackles for loss. He added an interception in his third straight game dating back to last season, and returned it 20 yards for the first defensive touchdown of the season for Mizzou. Gooden is the best of the Tiger linebackers and should thrive against the more traditional SEC offenses.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Marcus Murphy – Who else? I probably won’t even have a weekly special teams player of the game, but I had to this week. Murphy showcased his electrifying speed and quickness with two punt return touchdowns on the night, making him the first Tiger ever to do that. I don’t think these will be the last two we’ll see all season either. It looks like this kid has “it” as a returner, and will certainly be a major factor in the running game this season.

POST GAME THOUGHTS:

Tonight was basically a tune up scrimmage for next week’s showdown against Georgia and I must say Mizzou looked pretty good. Whenever you can win 62-10, you probably did a few things well, I don’t care who you’re playing.

This was the easiest test the Tigers will have all season, and they took care of business. I was especially impressed with the defense. They didn’t know what to expect from the SLU offense and didn’t reveal anything exotic as they played a basic 4-3 formation with soft, Cover 2 coverage for the majority of the game. Aside from a few penalties, the defense was dominant, especially the front seven.

The performance of the starting offense however was a little underwhelming, but I expected it. After getting up to such a big lead early, the offense kind of took their foot off the pedal and fell asleep in the second quarter. It also wasn’t a coincidence that the offense started to struggle when the rain really started coming down. I was expecting some sloppy play offensively because of the threat of rain before the game and that’s what happened.

Franklin and company just couldn’t get any rhythm going consistently and the conditions played a part in that.

But Mizzou’s offensive line, specifically the interior which was a concern going into the game, didn’t play particularly well tonight. Mitch Morse, Max Copeland and true freshman Evan Boehm were all making their first starts of their careers tonight and the inexperience showed. James Franklin was forced out of the pocket several times and had to make throws sooner than he wanted because of the SLU rush up the middle. Morse also had several high snaps which threw the timing off a few plays.

The line is definitely a concern with Georgia looming, but the Tigers hope to get starting right guard Jack Meiners back for the game which would be a huge help.

Oh and the new uniforms looked amazing. So did the new field turf. Can’t wait to see what uniform combination we’ll wear next week. If I had to guess, since it’s Gold Rush, I bet we wear our gold jerseys with gold pants and the alternate Tiger head helmet. We’ll see.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Oh just one of the most hyped up and anticipated games in Missouri football history.

The #6 Georgia Bulldogs (1-0) come to town next Saturday for the first SEC game for Mizzou as a member of the conference. Columbia will be buzzing all week and the atmosphere on Saturday is going to be off the charts. Memorial Stadium is going to be rocking like no other game there before. The anticipation and excitement for this game exceeds the 2007 Nebraska and 2010 Oklahoma games. It’s going to be EPIC.

Kickoff is set for 6:45 CT at Faurot Field and the game will be aired on ESPN 2.

I can’t freakin wait.

M-I-Z