November 8, 2008

Tiger Notebook: Stealing the senior show

Missouri's offense has scored on its opening drive in every game but one this season. So having just seven points at the end of a quarter is a slow start for Mizzou. No worries, though, the Tigers did everything they needed to in a five minute, three second span of the second quarter.

With 6:33 to play in that quarter, Jeff Wolfert connected on a 32-yard field goal to give Missouri a 10-0 lead. The next K-State drive ended in a punt and freshman Will Ebner burst up the middle for a block.

"Their punt team, the first time we went out there, they weren't real physical, didn't really know what they were doing, some confusion it looked like," Ebner said. "We put on our block and I was lined up to actually go straight through the tackle and it should open up either way for either me or the two guys beside me. It just split wide open for me."

The Tigers didn't take long to capitalize. Jeremy Maclin found the end zone on a 42-yard catch and run for a 17-0 lead.

"Anytime a big special teams play happens, it's definitely a great momentum shift," Maclin said. "We've been working on that. We've been trying to get to one all year and we finally got to one."

Missouri wasn't quite done. After another defensive stop, Maclin set the Tigers up at the Wildcat 32 after a 14-yard punt return. Missouri took exactly two plays to score, capping this drive with a 16-yard strike from Chase Daniel to Maclin. All told, the two scoring drives took three plays and 34 seconds to cover 74 yards and put 14 points on the board. It was far from a perfect offensive night, but Missouri did enough to get the job done.

"At times, we kind of sputtered on offense," Gary Pinkel said. "41 points, and that was kind of sloppy, almost for us. The bar has been set so high."

The Tigers all suggested that perhaps the emotion of a pre-game ceremony in which they honored not only the 22 seniors playing their final game, but also late teammate Aaron O'Neal may have drained the team a little bit.

"I think it threw everyone off," Daniel said. "We had that problem a little bit last year too."

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