Momentary excitement in the film room
From the press box, Missouri’s comeback at the end of the first half and beginning of the second caused pause. There wasn’t too much of a stir, though — those who had begun to formulate a game story probably didn’t start a new one. Watching the telecast of the game, though, and we got more of a sense that, hey, Missouri has a chance! The Cowboys had gotten one first down on their last three possessions when they punted away to Missouri two minutes into the second half, and FX announcer Gus Johnson was getting excited.
OK, so Johnson gets excited easily, but a day later we were almost on the edge of our seats to see what would happen next (Franklin’s first interception).
If at first you don’t succeed…
Against an Oklahoma State team that has dominated turnover differentials this season, the Tigers looked like they were trying harder than usual to force fumbles. Repeatedly, they tried to strip the ball rather than worry about making the tackle. Not a smart ploy against a team who has “specialty players,” in the brilliant words of FX analyst Charles Davis, that are athletes.
Cornerback Kip Edwards stripped receiver Isaiah Anderson early in the third quarter, but the ball rolled out of bounds. It was the closest they got to forcing a fumble all day, at the expense of giving up extra yards on open field situations.
Trey Barrow has first bad day
Besides running back Henry Josey, punter Trey Barrow has been the Tigers’ most reliable player this season, consistently booting the ball 50 + yards and making it a little less easy for opposing offenses to score. But against Oklahoma State, he was not very good. On five punts he averaged 36.8 yards, and one that only flew 19 yards in the third quarter exacerbated a momentum-killing sequence for Missouri.
A man of his word
Last week cornerback E.J. Gaines said that against Oklahoma State, the secondary was going to give up some big plays — but that it was also going to make big plays.
Come Saturday, Gaines left Michael Harrison wide open for the Cowboys’ first touchdown and got burned by Justin Blackmon on what would have been a sure touchdown if Blackmon had not dropped the ball.
Give the man credit, though — he also knocked down a long, well-thrown pass by quarterback Brandon Weeden in the third quarter before making the crucial interception in the end zone and returning it 54 yards. In the end, that interception only prolonged the inevitable, but at least Gaines actually lived up to what he said.
Youman the man
No way around it — Missouri quarterback James Franklin had a poor day. He completed 14 of 27 passes and accounting for all four of the team’s turnovers with three interceptions and a fumble. That fumble was especially costly because it came four yards away from the end zone after a good drive and, before that, Gaines’ interception.
Franklin said after the game that he waited too long to tuck the ball, but on replay it looked like he was doing a decent job protecting it. Oklahoma State’s Wilson Youman simply made a fantastic strip. The number of times Missouri “shot itself” (Gus Johnson did not specify where) is inexcusable, but in this case Youman deserves the credit for making a play.
- T.J. Moe ran a nice route in the first quarter on a stop-and-go that resulted in an 18-yard catch. Later, he reversed roles with Franklin, hitting him on a throwback that went for 31 yards and prompted Johnson’s best sequence of the day: “It’s a screen, they throw it back Franklin! … He’s got a convoy! … Missouri saying we can razzle dazzle too, Oklahoma State!” Later, Moe also got a little feisty when he pointed toward Oklahoma State cornerback Andrae May as Moe strolled into the end zone.
-Charles Davis had another headscratcher when, talking about Oklahoma State’s butterfingers in the first half, he said, “Think of what (they’re) turning down by dropping those passes.” Was he saying the Missouri defense is easy?
-KOMU sports director Chris Gervino was caught on camera doing his best impression of Missouri defensive coordinator Dave Steckel.
- Mind your cotton candy, sir.