Missouri’s season has definitely been one of ups and downs.
After coming off an exciting overtime victory against then-ranked No. 16 Texas A&M two weeks ago, the Tigers lost to Baylor 42-39 last weekend.
Baylor set a school record by gaining 697 yards. Although the Tigers overcame an 11-point deficit to defeat the Aggies, the 14-point deficit in this game was too large to overcome. Missouri scored 25 points in the fourth quarter, but the rally wasn’t enough.
This isn’t the first time this season inconsistency has disappointed the Tigers.
“It’s all about consistency, and we made a lot of mistakes,” said Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel. “A lot of fundamental ... basic mistakes on both sides of the ball. It makes it very difficult to win when you do that.”
Looking back at the season, the team has experienced hope on one Saturday and was then defeat the next. The Tigers had a convincing and uplifting 52-17 win over Iowa State earlier in the season. Quarterback James Franklin had five touchdowns in the win.
But, the next weekend, they faced Oklahoma State and were overwhelmed 45-24.
“Generally the team with the fewest mistakes is going to win,” Pinkel said after the game. “We just had a lot of mistakes; we had a few chances to get back in it and we just couldn’t get it done.”
The Tigers faced then-No. 1 Oklahoma in their third game of the season. Although they did not leave Norman with a win, they kept the game close and finished 38-28. This game, once again, gave the Tigers hope and optimism.
The following game, the Tigers played sluggish and fell to Kansas State, 17-14. Franklin, who had been averaging more than 500 yards of total offense, finished the game with 214 passing yards.
“We’re just not playing very good football right now,” Pinkel said. “It starts with me, so I’m not doing a good enough job coaching these guys.”
Throughout the season, the team and coaching staff has been emphasizing the importance of executing the little things during games.
“I do not think it was a lack of care, we were just not crisp, we were not doing the real attention to detail that you need to win games,” Pinkel said.
He also said the offense was sluggish during the Kansas State game.
“We have been inconsistent where we have gone,” Pinkel said. “It is just a lot of things happening in the game; if you want to be good, you have to be better.
A key aspect that has been missing in the Tigers game is third quarter scoring. The team has been outscored 43-0 in the third quarter in its four Big 12 Conference losses.
“We have talked about it exhaustively, and we will continue to talk about it,” said offensive coordinator Dave Yost.
Coaches and players appear to be stumped by the issue.
“I can’t put my finger on it,” said running back De’Vion Moore. “It’s nothing specifically we’re doing or not doing. We’re putting together good drives throughout the game, but we got to be consistent in every quarter and not let up.”
The Tigers have definitely had their struggles and triumphs this season. But they will be looking to improve their roller coaster of a season at home on Saturday.