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October 26, 2010

Breaking down the Missouri offense

Nebraska Opponent Offensive Scouting Report

Team: Missouri Tigers
Location: Columbia, Mo.

Colors: Old Gold & Black
Enrollment: 28,477
Stadium: Faurot Field (68,349)
Conference: Big 12 (North Division)

Head Coach: Gary Pinkel (Kent State, 1973), 147-83-3 in 19 seasons as head coach, 74-46 in 10 seasons at Missouri
Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks/Recruiting Coordinator: David Yost

2010 Record: 7-0 (3-0 Big 12)
National Ranking: No. 7 (AP), No. 8 (Coaches), No. 6 (BCS)
Series Record vs. Nebraska: Nebraska leads 64-35-3

Game Date: Saturday, Oct. 30 in Lincoln, Neb.
Game Time: 2:30 p.m. CT
TV: ABC
Radio: Husker Sports Network


Signal-Caller: Junior QB Blaine Gabbert (6-5, 230) has become the face of the Tiger offense by guiding MU to one of the best starts in program history. Gabbert has completed 181-of-269 passes for 1,899 yards and 11 touchdowns against just three interceptions this fall. He completed 30-of-42 attempts for 308 yards and a score last week against Oklahoma, just a week after passing for 361 yards and career-best tying three TDs on the road against Texas A&M. On Monday, Oct. 25, Gabbert was named the Big 12's co-Offensive Player of the Week along with Nebraska's Taylor Martinez. Gabbert ranks 26th nationally in total offense with 271.3 yards per game and has helped the Tiger offense rank 16th in passing (286.4 ypg) and 24th in scoring (34.7 ppg) in 2010.

On the Ground: After seeing returning starter Derrick Washington removed from the team in August for disciplinary reasons, Missouri has asked a number of young players to step up. The result has been 138.4 ypg to rank 79th nationally. De'Vion Moore (5-9, 195) has started five contests and is tied with Henry Josey (5-10, 180) for the team lead with four rushing touchdowns apiece. Josey leads the squad with 319 rushing yards while Moore is second with 273 yards after the pair combined for 137 yards against Oklahoma last weekend. As a team, MU had 178 rushing yards last weekend, its third-highest mark of the year and only the third time over 150 yards. Gabbert is third with 41 rushing attempts (with amazingly zero total yards gained) this fall, while Kendial Lawrence (5-9, 190) is fourth with 39 attempts for 177 yards.

Catching It: Tight end Michael Egnew (6-6, 235) and wide receiver T.J. Moe (6-0, 200) have become the go-to guys in the receiving corps for the Tigers this fall. Together, they have combined for 109 catches and 1,070 yards with Moe averaging 89.3 ypg to rank 16th in the nation, while Jerrell Jackson (6-1, 190) and Egnew are 68th and 70th, respectively. Egnew is fifth nationally with 8.0 receptions per game and Moe is eighth with 7.6, but it was Jackson who caught nine passes for 139 yards and a score against the Sooners last week. Egnew had seven catches in the game, but gained just eight yards, while 10 players overall made receptions.

On the Line: The Tiger offensive line entered the week ranked 17th in country by allowing only seven sacks in 290 passing plays this fall. Together, they have helped Missouri rank 32nd in the country in total offense by gaining nearly 425 yards per game. LT Elvis Fisher (6-5, 295), LG Jayson Palmgren (6-2, 305), C Tim Barnes (6-4, 300), RG Austin Wuebbels (6-4, 300) and RT Dan Hoch (6-7, 315) have also helped the passing offense rank among the top 20 in the country.
Kicking It Around: PK Grant Ressel (6-1, 190) leads the Tigers in scoring with 65 points to rank 26th nationally 9.29 ppg. The junior has hit 13-of-14 field-goal attempts this fall, including 13 consecutive after missing his first attempt of the year, and has hit 26-of-28 PATs. The majority of Ressel's attempts have come within 40 yards, as he is 11-of-12 from 39 or fewer yards and 2-of-2 from 40 or more yards. P Matt Gabner (6-4, 200) has punted 32 times for a 41.8 yard average, with 14 of his kicks pinning opponents inside the 20 yard line.

They Said It: "He's an excellent quarterback. I thought, first, his line protected him really well. You can tell he's very strong in the pocket, knows where he wants to go with the football and throws an excellent pass. (He) goes through reads well, he knows where he wants to go, the holes he wants to hit, and he's very accurate hitting them."
--- Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops commenting about Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert on Monday, Oct. 25

Quick hits

***Missouri defeated Oklahoma, 36-27, last weekend, marking the first time in program history the Tigers defeated No. 1-ranked team after losing 11 straight games against AP No. 1 squads. The Sooners entered the matchup as the top team in the BCS standings.

*** With last week's victory, MU improved to 7-0 on the season. It is just the third time in school history the Tigers have won seven straight to open a season, matching the marks set in 1960 and 1899 (yes, 111 years ago).

***Missouri debuted at No. 11 in the first BCS ranking, its highest initial listing since the ranking system was implemented in 2000. It was the fourth time in five years MU was in the first BCS top 25 poll of the year. The Tigers improved to No. 6 in the standings this week after defeating Oklahoma. MU's highest final rank in the BCS was sixth in 2007 after opening at No. 16.

***The Tigers own 15 rushing touchdowns in seven games this fall, matching the total number of rushing scores Missouri posted in 13 games last season.

***Missouri has been strong at making adjustments following the half this season. In the third quarter, the Tigers have outscored opponents by a 67-13 margin in 2010.

2010 Missouri Tigers Schedule/Results
9/4 vs. Illinois, W, 23-13
9/11 McNeese State, W, 50-6
9/18 San Diego State, W, 27-24
9/25 vs. Miami (Ohio), W, 51-13
10/9 vs. Colorado, W, 26-0
10/16 at Texas A&M, W, 30-9
10/23 Oklahoma, W, 36-27
10/30 at Nebraska, 2:30 p.m.
11/6 at Texas Tech, TBA
11/13 Kansas State, TBA
11/20 at Iowa State, TBA
11/27 vs. Kansas, 11:30 a.m.


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