Tag Archives: South Carolina Gamecocks

Media Day Notes: Timing is everything, containing Gurley and early kickoffs

By Brandon Kiley, KBIA Sports

Good time for a bye:

Missouri (4-1) went into the bye week with momentum after picking up a much-needed 21-20 win over South Carolina.

“The bye was at a very good time,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. “We played five games, had a bye and play four more (before Missouri’s next bye). In this league, I think that’s a great setup. I think you would probably take that every year.”

The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for the Missouri players. Senior receivers Darius White and Jimmie Hunt were not able to play against South Carolina because of injuries. White was out with a torn groin muscle and Hunt was out with a burst bursa sac in his knee.

“I’m not trying to rush anything,” White said. “I’m just trying to get back (to being) healthy. Get back out there to help the team. But I really feel like I’ll be out there this weekend.”

Hunt expects to be back this weekend as well. He was hoping to play against South Carolina, but Read more of this post

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What to watch for as Missouri takes on South Carolina

Story by Christian Clark, KBIA Sports

Missouri (3-1) begins Southeastern Conference play against No. 13 South Carolina (3-1) on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. Here are four things to keep in mind before the Tigers and Gamecocks kick off at 6 p.m.:

  • Marcus Murphy versus South Carolina’s special teams unit: Embarrassing was South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier’s adjective of choice to describe his team’s 48-34 road victory over Vanderbilt last weekend. The Head Ball Coach sounded especially irked by a Gamecocks special teams unit that allowed two kickoff returns to be returned for touchdowns. The Gamecocks’ inability to limit big special teams plays last weekend could bode well for Missouri’s Marcus Murphy. The junior is averaging 39 yards on four kickoff returns this season, including a 100-yarder he took back for a touchdown in Missouri’s season opener.

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2014 Missouri Tigers football preview: South Carolina

Darren Hellwege is previewing each of Missouri’s football opponents for the 2014 season. The previews are being published Aug. 1 – 13 and will appear in the order of play.

Missouri at South Carolina
Date
: Sept. 27, time TBD
Record: Gamecocks finished 11-2 overall in 2013 and haven’t lost at Williams-Brice Stadium in two years; overall an 18 game win streak in Columbia

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Darren Hellwege, Sports Commentator

After trailing 17-0 behind backup Dylan Thompson, the Gamecocks brought injured Connor Shaw off the bench for an amazing comeback, defeating the Tigers 27-24 in double overtime, Mizzou’s first loss of the 2013 season. Finished behind Missouri for the SEC East championship, but with an 11-2 season and No. 4 finish in both USA Today/Coaches poll and AP.  For the third year in a row, South Carolina beat the eventual SEC Eastern Division champ (in this case, Missouri) but ended up one game behind. And they’ll compete for (and I predict finally win) the East Division crown once again this year.

Quarterback
In a nutshell: If new QB Thompson steps up (and I think he will) Read more of this post

Missouri set to host SEC women’s tennis tournament

By Ky Bright

Missouri will host its first SEC women’s tennis tournament beginning Wednesday at the Mizzou Tennis Complex.

In only its second SEC season, coach Sasha Schmid said hosting the tournament is a very important event for the program.

“We‘re really excited about the tournament. It truly is the best tennis in the nation,” Schmid said.

The Tigers enter the tournament as the No. 13 seed after finishing the regular season with a 1-12 conference record. Missouri will look for its first SEC tournament victory against Read more of this post

Texas A&M is last obstacle in Mizzou’s path to championship

By The Associated Press

COLUMBIA — There’s one more hurdle to clear for No. 5 Missouri.

Beat No. 19 Texas A&M at home on Saturday and the Tigers, an SEC afterthought back in August, goes to the Southeastern Conference championship game.

Coach Gary Pinkel acknowledged on Monday that it’s a big deal.

“We’re excited about playing this game,” Pinkel said. “We worked real hard to get to this position. You know what, you compete for a championship, you’ve got to beat good people.”

Missouri (10-1, 6-1 SEC) must win to get to the Dec. 7 title game in Atlanta.

A loss would result in a tie for first place in the SEC East with South Carolina (9-2, 6-2), which would get the nod based on head-to-head competition.

Whatever happens, much has been accomplished.

“In any business, when you have adversity, that’s what you get judged by,” Pinkel said. “When things get really, really tough. We persevered. I’m really proud of our staff and our players. I shake my head, how they play and how they compete.”

There’s more to do. No one’s looking ahead to the title game or a BCS berth. It’s all about beating A&M (8-3, 4-3).

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” guard Max Copeland said. “The bigger the stakes, the most fun it gets. We’re rock and rollers, all our chips are in, man. Let’s go!”

Offensive tackle Justin Britt wrinkled his nose at the notion it’s been a “satisfying” season after last year’s SEC debut disaster. The 5-7 finish complicated by numerous injuries ended a string of eight consecutive bowl games, and expectations were low.

“You use that word and you get complacent,” Britt said. “It’s felt real good. I’m happy and the team’s happy with what’s happened and we’re all just trying to reach our goals.”

The Tigers have stumbled just once, losing in overtime to South Carolina at home.

Early on they showed their mettle with a win at Georgia, the school’s first road victory over a Top 10 opponent since 1981, and they overcame another crowd, beating Ole Miss 24-10 on Saturday night.

School is out this week, but students will flock back to campus early to be there for A&M.

“It’ll be just nuts,” senior quarterback James Franklin said, “because it’s Senior Night and because of how we’ve been doing this year.

“The fans want to come for what’s on the line.”

The practice schedule will be altered somewhat so players have a chance to go home for Thanksgiving. No classes means more preparation time, too.

Not too much.

Pinkel said he used to get so wired on game day, especially for a night game.

“That’s just my intensity, that’s how I am,” the coach said. “This is fun, this is really fun competing for a championship. This is why you do it.”

Over the years, he’s learned to better harness those emotions. He’ll downplay the implications with players.

“I’m not going to talk about that much. It’s all clutter,” he said. “We call it the grind. Wake up Saturday and play your best game.”

During the Senior Night ceremony, Pinkel always sheds some tears and hands out hugs all around, and hopes everyone snaps back to attention and uses it as inspiration and not a distraction.

“I’m sure it’s going to be more than I’m expecting,” Franklin said. “Right now I don’t see it as being too emotional, but I’m pretty sure once it comes around it will be.

“It’ll be sad, it’s my last home game at Mizzou, but it’ll be exciting, too.”

Franklin set to return as starting QB for Mizzou

By The Associated Press

COLUMBIA — Missouri has its senior captain back at quarterback.

Coach Gary Pinkel said Monday that James Franklin is “100 percent cleared” and will lead the eighth-ranked Tigers at Ole Miss this weekend after missing four starts with a sprained throwing shoulder.

The quarterback had been enjoying a career season through five games and positioned his team for a win at Georgia on Oct. 12 before getting slammed to the ground by two defenders.

“At first, you could tell that it hurt James a lot,” Read more of this post

Josey even more confident after first injury scare since coming back for Mizzou

Josey, offensive line, take care of each other

By The Associated Press

Missouri's offensive linemen gather around Henry Josey after he was injured in the game against Florida. Josey was able to run off the field on his own and later re-entered the game.

Missouri’s offensive linemen gather around Henry Josey after he was injured in the game against Florida. Josey was able to run off the field on his own and later re-entered the game.

COLUMBIA, Mo. — A hush fell over Missouri’s Memorial Stadium with 5:17 remaining in the third quarter last Saturday. In an otherwise raucous 36-17 romp over Florida, all anyone suddenly cared about was Henry Josey’s health.

The running back lay writhing on the ground, eerily reminiscent of when he tore his left anterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and patellar tendon two years ago. That led to a missed season and months of painstaking rehabilitation.
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Backup QBs Mauk and Thompson in the spotlight for Missouri, S. Carolina

By The Associated Press

Maty Mauk (7) is protected in the pocket during Missouri's game against Florida on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2013.

Maty Mauk (7) is protected in the pocket during Missouri’s game against Florida on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2013.

COLUMBIA, Mo. — A pair of backup quarterbacks will have a big say in the Southeastern Conference East Division race this weekend.

After defeating Florida 36-17 in his first career start, Missouri redshirt freshman Maty Mauk again leads the No. 5 Tigers as James Franklin recovers from a separated throwing shoulder. Opposing him will be South Carolina junior Dylan Thompson, who hopes to save the No. 20 Gamecocks’ season as Connor Shaw looks on with a sprained left knee.

Mauk gave Missouri a two-game cushion in the division last week by throwing for 295 yards against a Gators defense that previously allowed only 152 passing yards per game.

“If you watched him play in high school, that’s what he looked like,” coach Gary Pinkel said. “The bigger the game, the Read more of this post

Mizzou fans have no reason to panic

Still plenty of good basketball ahead for No. 22 Missouri

By Darren Hellwege

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Darren Hellwege, Sports Commentator

Three minutes into the second half last Tuesday at Mizzou Arena, the South Carolina Gamecocks led the Missouri Tigers by 13 points, and the crowd in the Arena was closer to what one would find at Pleasantville Methodist Church than a typical college basketball game. Watching Twitter, I saw Mizzou fans and even some of my fellow media observers go into what seems to be their default position…panic.
On the bench, injured Tiger superstar Laurence Bowers flapped his arms madly, nearly achieving flight. Had it not been for the fact that classes had started that day at the university and the student section was full, we might have reached the noise equal of absolute zero.
I joked about the crowd myself on Twitter, saying, “Quaalude Night was a terrible promotional idea.” But fortunately the Tigers only needed one person to make noise in order to kick-start their game. After what must have been a halftime speech that peeled the paint off the locker room walls, Missouri coach Frank Haith returned to the court sans necktie and got his team playing with a spark that had been missing in the first 20. Soon after halftime his sport coat was gone, leading to a few jokes on press row about what would be next.
Fortunately for the dignity of the program Haith remained clothed on the sideline and the Tigers started playing like…well, like the Missouri Tigers, and roared to a solid victory over South Carolina. And at one point, the crowd suddenly realized it was a basketball game and not a PTA meeting and also got plugged in, contributing their share to the Tigers’ emotional lift. It was the first time since February 29, when Mizzou beat Iowa State, that it truly felt like conference basketball in Mizzou Arena. But it took more than a half and the Tigers fighting back from 13 down to wake the fans up.
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Missouri looks to clean up defensive mistakes, missed tackles against Central Florida

By Joe Vozzelli

Missouri may want to forget a few things from its 31-10 loss to South Carolina. The Tigers had a handful of missed tackles on defense and special teams.

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel joked that his team missed 13 tackles on a Bruce Ellington 50-yard kickoff return late in the second quarter. The Tigers had just notched their first points of the game, a 22-yard Andrew Baggett field goal, before Ellington’s kickoff return. Ellington’s return set up an Ace Sanders’ 23-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Connor Shaw to give the Gamecocks a 21-3 halftime lead.

All kidding aside, Pinkel wasn’t too happy about Missouri’s coverage on special teams.

“Probably the most disappointing thing about our football game the other day was our kicking game and the field position consequences of it,” Pinkel said.

Pinkel was upset that Missouri’s woes on special teams gave South Carolina good field position. South Carolina started all four of its touchdown drives at midfield or in Missouri territory.

Special teams has been an issue for the Tigers all season.

Missouri ranks last in the Southeastern Conference in kickoff coverage and second to last in punt coverage. Sanders, the Gamecocks’ punt returner, averaged 17.7 yards on his six punt returns Saturday, including a 49-yard return in the second quarter.

On that return, the missed tackles again took their toll. Missouri defensive back Kip Edwards tried to rip the ball from Sanders’ grasp, instead of wrapping up the Gamecocks’ return man and bringing him to the ground. Sanders escaped from Edwards’ grasp before being tackled at Missouri 4-yard line. Two plays later, South Carolina tailback Marcus Lattimore plunged into the end zone on a two-yard rushing touchdown for the first points of the game.

Missouri defensive back E.J. Gaines said he’s fine with Edwards’ willingness to try to strip a returner of the ball, instead of going for a tackle. He said that’s the way Edwards plays the game.

Pinkel may not feel the same way about Edwards not taking the sure tackle over a possible fumble recovery.

He said it looked “ugly” to see that many missed tackles against South Carolina and that it didn’t “look like Missouri football.”

Many of Missouri’s players, including senior defensive lineman Brad Madison and linebacker Will Ebner, had a hard time explaining why the team struggled with missed tackles against South Carolina.

“I don’t really know how to describe it, other than a lack of focus and executing the fundamentals we’ve been taught from day one,” Ebner said.

Missouri also had mistakes from unlikely suspects on defense. Gaines, a first team All-Big 12 defensive back last season, was coming off one of his best games of Missouri’s early season against Arizona State. He had five tackles in the game against the Sun Devils.

Saturday’s game was a different story.

Late in the second quarter, Shaw lofted a high pass to Sanders, who caught the ball on his fingertips for a touchdown. On that play, Sanders was able to beat Gaines, who was covering the Gamecocks’ quick and shifty receiver in one-on-one coverage.

Gaines had a simple explanation for the play.

“He just beat me off the ball,” he said.

Pinkel likened the defensive back position to “an island,” meaning Gaines is forced to cover his man without any help from other players.

Gaines said he likes this aspect of the position but adds that getting beat can wear on a defensive back mentally.

“Anytime you get beat, it just floats in your head. That’s a thing you have to teach yourself: Let things go and just come back (after the game) to watch film and see what you did wrong,” he said.

Missouri (2-2) hopes to utilize this strategy to get ready for its next game. The Tigers have a road game against Central Florida (2-1) at 11 a.m. Saturday on Fox Sports Midwest.