Zoukeeping:Texas Tech

Overachieving Tigers Defense Purring

The Missouri Tigers defense was fond of saying that they were a ‘bend, don’t break’ unit. Right now, the Tigers’ defense is breaking, but breaking instead the common stigma of the Big XII pundits and prognosticators, myself included.

The Tigers defense came back to Columbia after being shredded by a potent Oklahoma offense, only to be faced by the most potent offense in the nation, Texas Tech.

The boys from Lubbock came into the game averaging 50 points per game and over 500 yards passing per from quarterback Graham Harrell, both of these numbers put Tech atop the stat sheet in those categories. But the most dangerous and dangerous offense was held to ten points total, and were shut out in a second half that included a Texas Tech 4th and 44 on their own 12 yard line.

How did the Tigers achieve such an improbable defensive performance? Over aggressive defense. You saw this extreme blitzing and single coverage backfire on Tech’s one touchdown, a 68 yard beauty, that took the air out of the crowd and hinted that the shootout that everyone expected was on the way in the second half. But the pressure got to the nation’s most prolific passer and forced him into bad throws, four of which changed possession. Harrell’s four picks in the game totaled one more than his 2007 total to that date (3). Pig Brown had one of those picks, which he immediately fumbled back to Tech, but atoned for his sins with 14 tackles, leading the team.

Farout Rout
(Fa-Row/ Row)

The Tigers have given up just one touchdown in the last two games at Farout Field. This is propounded by the fact that both teams have vaunted offenses, and were both ranked at the time of the game. And one thing stands out in the defensive performances at home, as compared to the road...the defensive performances. The newfound excitement surrounding Mizzou has brought out big crowds for Gold Rush and Homecoming, and the defense is using the crowd to their advantage, just as Oklahoma used their 80,000 fans to invigorate their D and confuse the Mizzou offense. With big games left against Texas A&M and Iowa State, the recent performances have to make you wonder if Mizzou hasn’t finally developed a home field advantage worth fearing.

JJ Best Fit For Team

Jimmy Jackson filled in for the injured Tony Temple the past two games, and has played fantastically, scoring three times, and combining with Derrick ‘Denzel’ Washington, Earl Goldsmith, and Marcus ‘if a ball falls in the’ Woods for 212 yards. Jackson has averaged 4.8 yards per carry and in the spread offense, a runner that is not immune to contact will pay dividends. Jackson is that kind of back, even with Temple back, it would be foolish for Pinkel not to give Jackson the ball for the majority of the carries. Jackson bruises linebackers with punishing carries and still has the breakaway speed. With the return of Temple, the Tigers will have one of the deepest running back cores in the nation, all built from the same mold. But Jimmy Jackson has earned more touches and many, if not all of Mizzou’s third down and redzone carries. (Mind you, with Mizzou, those are few and far between.)

Tigers Bringing in Home Cubs
Blaine Gabbert is no longer a Nebraska verbal commit. The five star Senior quarterback from Parkway West in West County is now on the fence, and was in attendance to the the Blowout in Columbia vs. Tech. After the embarrassment Mizzou put on Nebraska, a whoppin’ that lost valued recruits, led to the firing of an AD and all but packed up the moving van for the head coach for the Huskers, one must sense that the tide is turning in the Big XII North. WIth the weak years by the South division, it also begs to ask, has the North finally switched roles and become the feet that stomp the doormat? One thing is certain, Mizzou’s great play is keeping recruits in state and is opening eyes across the nation. A team soiled in anonymity is now on the cusp of being a national title contender, and that can do nothing but bode well for the Tigers. and while Gabbert is not a must have player, grabbing him would prove to not just the Big XII, but the nation, that Mizzou is not just a one year Cinderella and is planing on success for years to come.


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