I jumped on interstate 70 about 8:00am Saturday heading west, with the final destination, Columbia Missouri. During my hour and a half travel time, I started thinking back on the Tigers last four games played.
Their win on the road in College Station over Texas A&M was a huge road victory. Missouri played well, but that win was more because Texas A&M didn’t play their best, and was beat by a team that was hungry. The next week Mizzou defeated the number one team in the country Oklahoma Sooners. Flying high they headed to Lincoln Nebraska, to battle the Black shirts and the rest of the Cornhuskers. Still feeling the effects of the Sooner hangover, that game is one they won’t forget, because it was a complete butt kicking and nightmare to say the least. Last week’s game against The Red Riders of Texas Tech, they were beat-up in every phase of the game and didn’t compete for 60 minutes.
On Saturday when the Missouri Tigers took the field, you felt the emotion right away, the team was extremely focused in the senior’s last game in the Zou, and getting a win was important to the team and the fans dressed in black.
The seniors were introduced one by one, as they were honored in their final run out of the tunnel, which was aligned with their teammates stretching to the fifty yard line, were parents and love ones waited to greet them.
The team didn’t disappoint the seniors, with their hard play, and focus on beating up a well-coached and talented football team in Kansas State Wildcats. The Missouri Tigers went undefeated at home for the 2010 season, treating their fans in the Zou, and again saluting the seniors and sending them out the right way.
Blaine Gabbert was clicking on all cylinders spreading the ball around to six different receivers (17/25 208 yards 8.3 yards per attempt, 2 touchdowns and one Interception). On the ground, he was very impressive running the ball (14 carries 89 yards 6.4 average per carry and one touchdown). He showed composure under pressure to stand tall in the pocket and deliver throws, sticking it on the receiver. I was shocked with his ability to run down field, making him a threat when the pass was shut down. He made decisions on the move based off his primary receivers in ability to escape jam and press technique. Receivers making big plays and key blocks in the run game to free ball carriers for extra yards, resulting in BIG plays.
The Defense applied good pressure from the front seven, with good tackling ability in chase and pursuit. The secondary delivered with ball hawking skills and Interception production. But when Jacquies Smith returned a fumble (53 yard touchdown), that score broke the backs of K-State.
While Daniel Thomas the outstanding and productive running back from Kansas St, slashed and dashed thru the Mizzou defense (12 carries 66 yards and a 5.5 average and two touchdowns), Collin Klein part of the two headed monster quarterback duo, came off the bench and ran hard (18 carries 141 yards 7.8 average) he has very good size and speed. Tiger’s offense kept the other Cats caged up and on their heels. This was a complete team win.
Coach Pinkel who was on the Washington Staff when I played there, did a great job getting his team to focus and maintain a mindset of 60 minutes and finishing strong on a day were several Bowl representatives were in the press box and the Seniors last run in the Zou was wild.