September 22, 2012

Game at a Glance

Most football games turn on a handful of plays. Over sixty minutes, it is not difficult to identify a couple of spots at which the winner took control and the loser saw it slipping away. Missouri's 31-10 loss to South Carolina was so lopsided, finding the pivotal moments was impossible.

"I don't remember thinking there was ever a time we couldn't get in it," T.J. Moe said after a day he caught just two passes and was not otherwise targeted. "There wasn't a whole lot. We didn't make any plays. Defensively, I thought they played great, our guys. Offensively, we sucked.

"I don't even know how many times we put ourselves in opportunities to make plays. It's not like we were dropping balls all over the place, it's not like we were tripping and falling and not making throws. Really, we were so bad today offensively, we didn't put ourselves in position to make any plays. And that's hard to do."

"I think a lot of it was we're kind of hurting ourselves," James Franklin said after a career-low (as a starter) 98 yards of total offense. "We had some opportunities either with missed throws or dropping it or something like that. We kind of just hurt ourselves on a lot of plays. That's something we need to work on because we haven't really got that fixed yet."

Missouri's offense gained just 255 total yards, averaging 4.4 per snap. The defense missed tackle after tackle and caused just slightly more resistance (one incompletion's worth) for Connor Shaw than the South Carolina quarterback faced in Friday's walk-through. The special teams was carved up by Gamecock return men Ace Sanders and Bruce Ellington for 156 yards on seven punt and kickoff returns.

It was a complete and total team loss. In every aspect it could, South Carolina outplayed the Tigers. How do the Tigers move forward? There seemed not even to be a consensus on that.

"It's no different than we always do," Gary Pinkel said. "We win or lose, we analyze it the same way since the day we've been here. There's a lot of things to learn. It's real important to learn things. You've got to learn things, you've got to apply them. You don't ever just throw it under the rug and move on. We don't do that.

"Put your head down. Don't worry about it," Moe said. "This isn't a game you can look at and learn 15 things from. Georgia was a little bit more like that. You toss this one aside and don't worry about it because it just frustrates you."

On the plus side, Missouri does still have eight games to play this season. At this point, it is tough to say that's necessarily a good thing.

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