Matt Michaels and Will Palasczuk from KTGR, our Missourinet affiliate in Columbia, join me this morning to give you final insight into the Tigers first SEC game of the season. Mizzou kicks off at Vandy tonight at 6:30. Here are some things to watch for.
–The Tigers’ rushing game has the best per game average of all teams in the SEC. Mizzou has four players with 215 or more rushing yards and 2 TDs or more, including sophomore TB Russell Hansbrough (335 yards, 3 TDs, 8.6 avg.), junior TB Henry Josey (238 yds., 4 TDs, 5.9 avg.), junior TB Marcus Murphy (224 yds., 4 TDs, 7.2 avg.) and senior QB James Franklin (215 yds., 2 TDs, 5.2 avg.)
–Mizzou is playing disciplined football so far, as the Tigers rank ninth in the nation, and second in the SEC in both fewest penalties (3.50 per/game) and fewest penalty yards (30.50 avg.) per game.
–Senior DL Michael Sam notched a career-best three sacks against Arkansas State (Sept. 28), while forcing a fumble. He ended the night with four tackles overall. His playe earned him SEC Defensive Line Player of the Week recognition…the third Tiger to claim that honor this season.
–Missouri recorded three interceptions for three-straight games to start the 2013 season, adding another pick late against Arkansas State for 10 INTs on the year. The Tigers had just seven INTs all of last season. The 10 pickoffs are second-most in the NCAA, behind only Northwestern and Tennessee (11, in five games).
–Eight different Tigers have combined for the 10 total interceptions, with senior CB E.J. Gaines with three pickoffs. Gaines is Mizzou’s active career interceptions leader with six, but interestingly enough, the INTs for all of the other seven in 2013 have marked the first of their careers.
–Mizzou is 4-0 for the seventh time in 13 seasons under Pinkel. Mizzou’s last 5-0 start in 2010 was part of a remarkable 7-0 run to begin the season. The Tigers finished that campaign with a 10-3 record, and lost the Big 12 North to Nebraska, who beat the Tigers head to head. Mizzou calls themselves co-champions, but reality is they finished in second that season.