October 1, 2014

How did it happen? What the Missouri Tigers were able to do to beat South Carolina from the Gamecock perspective (Google Hangout)

Maty Mauk managed to lead the Tigers to a fourth quarter victory.

Maty Mauk managed to lead the Tigers to a fourth quarter victory.

Phil Kornblut, from our sister network, SportstalkSC.com in Columbia, South Carolina was just beaming last year after he cleaned up four pounds of bar-b-que in a bet he made with one of our Missourinet radio affiliates.  This time around, his mood a little somber as he tells me on this Google Hangout that it will be near impossible now for the Gamecocks to win the SEC East.

There are a lot of factors that need to work in their favor, and at the same time, as far as Tiger fans are concerned, Mizzou dodged a huge bullet.

Missouri was down 20-7 and were just 7:25 away from dropping their second game in a row and losing their SEC debut.  The loss would have put the Tigers basically two behind USC, who also has a win over Georgia.  Even though it only would have been one loss, the task of trying to climb out of an early hole may have been too difficult.

Yet, the Tigers somehow found a way.  As Kornblut explains, the weak part of the USC defense was their secondary, but with Maty Mauk losing Jimmie Hunt early in the game and not having Darius White, his options for experienced receivers were down to Bud Sasser and rarely used Sean Culkin.  Offensive coordinator Josh Henson continued to call balance plays of run and pass and it just wasn’t working when Mauk would throw on first down.  At one point he was 1 for 8 for eight yards on first down pass plays.

Then in the blink of eye, it changed with one pass to Sasser for 41 yards.  Just like that, the momentum of the game changed.

Tigers get ready for first SEC game, while battle tested USC enters this game with momentum (Google Hangout)

Watch Bill Pollock's Google Hangouts on YouTube.

Watch Bill Pollock’s Google Hangouts on YouTube.

South Carolina has comeback from a 52-28 season-opening loss to Texas A&M to win three in a row over East Carolina, Georgia and Vanderbilt.  The Gamecocks are coming off of a 48-34 win at Vanderbilt last week, and they’ll be home for their fourth home SEC game of the year.

However, just like Missouri, Steve Spurrier’s club has some question marks about his team.  They’ll be shuffling their defensive secondary around for this Saturday night’s game against the Tigers.

Brison Williams will move back to cornerback after starting at safety last week. He had his fourth career interception last week at Vandy and took it back for a touchdown.  True freshman Al Harris Jr. will get the nod at the other cornerback position. T.J. Gurley and Chaz Elder will start at safety against Missouri.

USC defensive end David Johnson will be out for several weeks after suffering a knee injury in the win at Vanderbilt last week.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Gamecocks have only allowed five sacks in four games.  The line has done a great job in protecting QB Dylan Thompson and Mizzou’s defense is predicated off pressuring the thrower.

Offensive guard Cody Waldrop (knee) did not practice again on Wednesday and has been ruled out for Saturday’s contest. Will Sport will make the start at right guard. It will be interesting to see who lines up on the defensive side across from Sport.

The Missouri Tigers are looking for their first win in SEC play against South Carolina.  They only team in the SEC East the Tigers have yet to beat.

What will it take?  What happens with a second loss and just how good are the Gamecocks.  Watch our game preview with Matt Michaels of Missourinet affiliate KTGR and Kevin McCreary from our sister network in Columbia, South Carolina, SportsTalkSC.com.

Mizzou overlooked Indiana with their sights set on USC. Losing back to back games will put the Tigers in a tough hole (Google Hangout)

Dylan Thompson throws a pass last week against Vandy (photo/Gamecocksonline.com)

Dylan Thompson throws a pass last week against Vandy (photo/Gamecocksonline.com)

The Gamecocks are looking for their fourth-straight win after a season-opening loss. After dropping the opener to No. 21/20 Texas A&M, the Gamecocks have rebounded with wins over East Carolina, No. 6/6 Georgia, and most recently, a 48-34 road win at Vanderbilt.

Tennessee is the only other SEC school besides Mizzou that has yet to play a conference game. Last year the Tigers played eight straight conference games in winning the  SEC Eastern Division title with a 7-1 record.  The lone loss came against USC.   Meanwhile, the Gamecocks will be halfway through their conference slate after this week and T.J. Fenske of KRCG-TV thinks that will be one advantage for USC.

While both of us agree that one loss in conference play won’t cook the Tigers chances of repeating, Fenske says if the team has to let two let losses in a row “marinate” over the bye week before Georgia, it could really be a blow to their confidence.

Mizzou’s Morse, “This is our ‘come to Jesus’ week.” Team captain guarantees best week of practice coming up for South Carolina (VIDEO)

Mitch Morse was part of an offensive line that had five false start penalties, and gave up 11 tackles behind the line of scrimmage (photo/Mizzou Athletics)

Mitch Morse was part of an offensive line that had five false start penalties, and gave up 11 tackles behind the line of scrimmage (photo/Mizzou Athletics)

When the Missouri Tigers gain close to 500 yards, like they did against Indiana on Saturday at Faurot Field, (498 to be exact), they’re going to win the football game.  That would have been the consensus coming into week four.  Yet, it didn’t happen.  The Tigers find themselves on the short end of a 31-27 final for their first loss of the season.

As the Tigers get ready for SEC play next week at South Carolina, this Indiana game will be looked at as either the spring board that bounced Missouri’s season into the right direction or the turning point.  If Mizzou suffers a second loss in a row, who knows what happens to the confidence and unity of this team.

Offensive guard and team captain Mitch Morse knew the stakes were high moments after this defeat.

“This is our coming to Jesus week guys.  I promise you this is going to be the best week of practice we’ve ever had.”

Watch our post game wrap with comments from the players.

Mizzou closes out their non-conference schedule with all attention turned to Indiana. Tigers a two touchdown favorite (Google Hangout)

The No. 18 Missouri Tigers (3-0 overall) close out their 2014 non-conference season this Saturday as they play host to the Indiana Hoosiers (1-1) at Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field. Kickoff for the contest is set for 3 p.m. (central time), with the game being televised on the SEC Network.

The Tigers are coming off a 38-10 home win over UCF that saw a dominant second-half performance as Mizzou pulled away after leading at halftime by a slim 14-10 margin. The Tiger defense forced four second-half turnovers to key the surge, and sophomore QB Maty Mauk threw for four more touchdowns, giving him a nation’s best 12 through three games.

Indiana comes into the game after suffering a heart-breaking last-second 45-42 loss at Bowling Green last week. In a thrilling back-and-forth game that saw 10 lead changes throughout the day, IU took a 42-39 lead with 2:04 remaining in the game, only to see BGSU drive for the winning TD with just :09 seconds left. The Hoosiers bring a high-powered offensive attack to Columbia, as they are averaging 574.0 yards per game, including running back Tevin Coleman, who comes in as the nation’s leading rusher with an average of 218.5 yards a contest.