Each week, the Missourian’s football reporters will watch a recorded broadcast of Missouri’s game and provide five takeaway points we feel are important. Here are this week’s:
Gary Pinkel dead-on about the Cover Two
In his post game press conference, head coach Gary Pinkel said a major reason why the Cover 2 defense did not work was because the pressing defensive backs did not slow down Arizona State’s receivers at the line of scrimmage. He was absolutely right.
Rarely, if ever, did cornerbacks EJ Gaines, Kip Edwards or Trey Hobson body up at the beginning of plays. Sometimes they stood in between as the outside and slot receivers ran past them on each side. Obviously the corners had some issues seeing the ball down field, but their problems started at the line of scrimmage.
Henry Josey did more than run well
Running back Henry Josey stands at weights 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds. His small stature helps him hit the holes and make the cuts that bothered ASU all Friday night — he finished with 94 yards on nine carries and 51 yards on two receptions. Against the Sun Devils, though, Josey was also a crucial blocker. Both in the pocket and down the field, such as on quarterback James Franklin’s long sideline run in the first quarter, Josey took defenders out of the play. The one block he did miss resulted in stud linebacker Vontaze Burfict’s only sack of the game.
With Kendial Lawrence and now De’Vion Moore out with injuries, bruising back Jared Culver should see more playing time, and the coaching staff will do whatever it can to protect its small, speedy back. But if needed, Josey can definitely block.
Andrew Wilson transitions well to the outside
When middle linebacker Will Ebner was injured early in Missouri’s season opener against Miami (Ohio), the Tigers decided to move outside linebacker Andrew Wilson to the middle and slide Luke Lambert over to the the outside. Wilson played some middle linebacker last year, but has excelled thus far since being moved. He led the team with 10 tackles against Miami (Ohio), and in the fourth quarter against ASU he ran down Kyle Middlebrooks as the running back broke to the outside.
Jayson Palmgren’s bounce snap costs Missouri early touchdown
Facing third-and-2 from ASU’s 8-yard line, James Franklin tried a designed run up the middle. He would have got the first down but was slowed when center Jayson Palmgren snapped low and off the turf. By the time Franklin started moving forward, linebacker Shelly Lyons caught him from behind.
Overall, Palmgren, who moved over from guard to take over for injured starter Travis Ruth, has been inconsistent on his shotgun snaps. He definitely improved against Arizona State, but the Tigers would do well to get Ruth back before conference play begins.
Joe Tessitore, entertaining if not always enlightening
ESPN announcer Joe Tessitore made us laugh many times when we replayed the game on Sunday night — sometimes with him, sometimes at him. Some highlights:
- On 5-foot-10 ASU receiver Aaron Pflugard’s 60-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter: “The little guy who could! 60 yards of glory!”
- On ASU’s Brock Osweiler being the tallest quarterback in the nation at 6-foot-8: “I checked their basketball roster, and there are only two players taller than him!”
- On Missouri pushing the pile around Josey forward in the second quarter: “That turned into a preseason sled drill as if it was August 2 in the hot sun.”
- On Grant Ressel after missing his second field goal of the game at the end of regulation: “He has had a very good career, but something in the air here in Tempe has him a bit amiss.”
- On the dramatic nature of the game: “NOTHING surprises me on the Friday night prime time game!”
- Mispronunciations of the week: Trey BAR-row and Austin WEEEbells.
Tessitore did look like a pro. His grey suit with white pinstripes and a subtle black pocket square was sharp.
- ASU dominates on first down: The Sun Devils tallied 301 of their 492 yards on first down, and Osweiler didn’t throw an incomplete pass on first down until the 2-minute mark of the third quarter.
- Busch whacked: Standing to the side of the uprights is usually safe spot when Ressel is kicking. But when the kicker missed a 54-yard field goal wide left at the end of the first half, Missourian photographer Matthew Busch got nailed. Sorry, Matt!