Junior TB Kendial Lawrence ran for a pair of 60-yard touchdowns on consecutive snaps, but it was the Missouri Tiger defense which made enough plays to claim the overall 18-10 win Saturday in Mizzou’s first full-scale scrimmage of the fall.
On a sun-splashed Faurot Field, the Tiger defense controlled things early on, as senior LB Will Ebner intercepted a pass thrown into traffic near the offense’s 10-yardline, and he rambled into the endzone for short interception return. It was the first of five interceptions gathered by the defense on the day, with freshmen David Johnson, Ian Simon and Ernest Payton each grabbing one. Sophomore LB Donovan Bonner made a very nice play on the final snap of the scrimmage to end the two-minute drill of the reserve offense, when he stepped in front of a ball over the middle and wrestled it away from the intended receiver to secure the turnover.
The offense eventually found its gear, and it was Lawrence who provided the momentum. Going against the #2 defense, Lawrence took a handoff from QB James Franklin and made a cutback against the flow in the backfield and burst through the line. He found the next gear in a hurry, and suddenly he was splitting the converging safeties down the middle of the field. He raced 60 yards untouched for the first offensive score of the day.
On the next play, the ball was set on the 40-yardline going the other way, and it was virtually a carbon copy of the previous snap, as Lawrence took the handoff, changed directions in the backfield, and went around the right edge to break free. He got some great downfield interference blocking from receivers Wes Kemp and Brandon Gerau that sprung him the final 20 yards to paydirt and a second 60-yard score.
With the ground game in high gear, sophomore TB Henry Josey also got in on the act as he scored on an 11-yard run later in the day. But it wasn’t all ground game, as Franklin rebounded from his tough start to find senior WR Wes Kemp on a beautiful 25-yard touchdown pass. Kemp made a highlight-reel worthy diving catch and landed in the endzone for the score. The force of the fall caused him to injure his right hip, and he did not return for the rest of the day.
Junior DE Brad Madison recorded a sack and a pass break up early on the day, but had leave after sustaining a strained left shoulder. The prognosis for his return won’t be known until tests are run on the shoulder.
Even with Madison on the sideline, the number one defense held its own, as it didn’t allow a touchdown on the day. The veteran unit also closed the day strongly, as it held the #2 offense without a first down on a pair of two-minute drill situations. Senior CB Trey Hobson had a strong showing as he batted away a couple of passes to force a four-and-out on the first series of that sequence.
The Tigers will enjoy Sunday off, their first day off since beginning camp on August 4th. They’ll return to the practice field Monday, with two practices scheduled. Stay tuned to www.mutigers.com for continuing coverage of pre-season camp.
Story courtesy of mutigers.com