Hot or Cold: Missouri's defense creating havoc in The Swamp
Checking in on the Week 9 temperature in Columbia, Mo.
Marcus Murphy. The Tigers’ all-purpose back had the game of his career Saturday, racking up 224 all-purpose yards. Despite a terrible performance from the offense, Murphy still made his impact known, specifically through the return game. In addition to returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown, he also took back a punt return 82 yards for another score. He added a rushing touchdown as well and was easily the player of the game for Missouri in a big win.
Creating turnovers. Missouri’s defense came to play last Saturday night in The Swamp. The Tigers forced six turnovers and made the Gators pay for their mistakes. Shane Ray and Markus Golden combined for a strip sack and a return for a touchdown and the secondary took back a pick-six as well. After a minus-5 turnover margin against Georgia, Missouri impressively turned things around very quickly with a plus-5 TO margin a week later against the Gators.
Offensive line. The Tigers’ offensive line improved against Florida, allowing only one sack, but the group will have its work cut out for them over the next several weeks. With the exception of Vanderbilt this, Missouri faces a number of elite SEC pass rushers to conclude the season, including Myles Garrett, Bud Dupree and Trey Flowers. It’s certainly encouraging to see some improvement out of a line that’s been struggling, but there isn’t much time to celebrate with these nightmarish defensive ends awaiting the Tigers.
Maty Mauk. What else is there to say about Mauk other than he is simply struggling. The sophomore quarterback has had an abysmal three games in the SEC this season and recently threw for just 20 yards on 6-of-19 passing. Head coach Gary Pinkel continues to lobby for Mauk as his starting quarterback and it appears no change is on the horizon, but there’s no doubt that Mauk is going through an incredibly rough patch right now.