A few hours after his morning press conference, where he talked about his battle with cancer and his impending retirement, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel met with the media again, this time to talk about Tigers football – and his cancer and retirement.

Last week was an eventful one for the Tigers. First came the on-campus anti-racism protest, which included football players deciding to boycott all football-related activities until the protest ended. Then came Pinkel’s shocking announcement that he has Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and will be retiring at the end of the season.

But on Saturday, the Tigers were focused on football, and defeated BYU 20-16 in Kansas City, Mo. Pinkel said it was the team’s best performance of the season.

One thing that helped Missouri’s offense was a healthy Russell Hansbrough. The senior running back dealt with injuries the first two months of the season, but has been healthy the last two games. Hansbrough rushed for a season-high 117 yards on 23 carries against BYU.

The offensive staff made a few changes for the BYU game that paid off.

Missouri (5-5) hosts Tennessee (6-4) this Saturday. The game will kick off at 7:15 p.m. ET on ESPN. One Tennessee player who impresses Pinkel is quarterback Josh Dobbs. Dobbs has thrown for 1,896 yards and 15 touchdowns this season, while rushing for 476 yards and seven touchdowns.

Pinkel also mentioned Tennessee’s running backs. Jalen Hurd has rushed for 887 yards and 10 touchdowns, while Alvin Kamara has gained 503 yards and scored six touchdowns.

Missouri defensive tackle Terry Beckner Jr. has a strained right knee, and will miss the Tennessee game. He will have an MRI tonight to further examine the damage. Beckner injured the knee in the first quarter of last week’s win over BYU when a Cougars lineman cut blocked him.

Saturday will be senior night. The team will honor its 21 seniors before their final game at Faurot Field.


Missouri athletic director Mack Rhoades spoke to the players on Sunday about the upcoming coaching search and tried to answer any questions the players might have. Pinkel said the players appreciated it.


Pinkel has been battling cancer all season, but hadn’t told any of his players – or his assistant coaches. He had been quietly getting his treatments at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Pinkel plans to coach the rest of the season. Dec. 31 is supposed to be his last day as the coach, but he wants to coach the Tigers in their bowl game even if it’s after that date. Then he’ll start his retirement.

And Pinkel assured his players that even after he retires, he will be there for them if they ever need him.