January 29, 2015

Mauk leads Mizzou on two scoring drives, but Bama on the doorstep to start the fourth

Maty Mauk attempts a pass vs. Alabama

Maty Mauk attempts a pass vs. Alabama

3rd Quarter Recap

Does Maty Mauk have one more half of magic left? It started out well. Mauk took another deep shot down the field go hit Jimmie Hunt at the two yard line. The pass was good for 63 yards. Then, on 4th and 1, he found Bud Sasser on a quick slant to draw to within 21-10.

Mauk did it again. After the Tigers forced a punt, Mauk connected with Hunt again on a long third down completion of 47 yards. The Tigers got a field goal from Andrew Baggett to close the gap to 21-13.

Mauk has thrown for 134 yards in the third.

Don’t expect big changes from Mizzou. There may be a few wrinkles in their game plan, but now is not the time to overhaul the playbook (Google Hangout)

The Missouri Tigers arrive  at the Georgia Dome late Friday afternoon

The Missouri Tigers arrive at the Georgia Dome late Friday afternoon

Good morning, it’s game day from Atlanta and I come to you from the lobby of the media hotel ahead of this afternoon’s kickoff of the SEC Championship game.

The Missouri Tigers arrived Friday afternoon, a hour behind schedule.  They cut their allotted time on the field from 45 minutes to 15.  That’s still a change from last year’s game when they didn’t step onto the field until their pregame warm up.

This is one of those games that leans heavily in favor of Alabama on paper.  Head to head matchups at the majority of positions go to Alabama, but this game is going to be closer than the 14.5 point spread would indicate.  I’d be shocked and disappointed if Mizzou lost this game by more than two touchdowns.

In my video, I’ll offer some closing thoughts, but the general overview is don’t expect widespread change on either side of the ball for Missouri.  Offensively, the Tigers are going to have to try to run the football.  It’s their strength, but it’s also Alabama’s strength.  However, Mizzou can’t become one-dimensional leaning to the passing game.

Defensively, the Tigers will try to pressure Tide quarterback Blake Sims with mostly a four-man rush.  They’ll have their linebackers play good gap coverage and stick to their assignments and keep the secondary in a position to not let Amari Cooper get behind.

Limit penalties, limit turnovers, limit big plays.  If Missouri does that, I feel like they have a chance in this game in the fourth quarter.  Enjoy the video.  Check out more from Google+ and in our special SEC section on this website and follow me for live chats on Twitter @Missourisports

One of one with Mike Kelly…honest insight on Gary Pinkel’s legacy and the Indiana loss (Google Hangout)

Pinkel and Saban getting set to talk from the Georgia Dome. What you can expect to hear from them (Google Hangout)

Welcome to Atlanta, where the Tigers are tired of looking for respect. They just want to win (VIDEO)

The Missouri Tigers are back in Atlanta.

The Missouri Tigers are back in Atlanta.

In last year’s SEC Championship game loss to the Auburn Tigers, the game turned into a track meet.  Both teams moved up and down the field with ease as the points racked up.  Mizzou was in the game, a three point difference, with 13 minutes to play, before Auburn took control and just like that, the game was over.

It seemed like a blur watching from high above the Georgia Dome.  On the field for some of the Missouri players, the sentiment was the same.  Center Evan Boehm talked about the atmosphere and feel of such a big game.  He admitted he may have been in awe.  Other players, such as Michael Scherer said the Tigers were worried about gaining respect.  All of that is out the window.  Now the team comes to Atlanta for the second year in a row with a renewed focus.

If you are a glass half-empty type of fan, you’ll say Gary Pinkel’s Tigers can’t win the big game.  If you’re a glass half-full fan, you’ll believe that getting to the championships game is a major accomplishment and winning is difficult.  In three of the four championship games, (’08 vs. Oklahoma, ’13 vs. Auburn and ’14 vs. Alabama) the Tigers are facing an opponent that has either gone on to play in the national championship game or will be number one heading into post season.  In every single season, Missouri has faced a team that comes in with either a better record or better accolades.  The lone exception is ’07 when the Tigers were ranked number one.  In other words, the Tigers aren’t playing cheap competition.

Perhaps that’s where the lack of national respect may come from…the stigma of not winning the “big game.”  That could all change after Saturday.

Welcome to Atlanta, as we continue our coverage of the Tigers, SEC Championship march.