(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
The Missouri Tigers edged out the Connecticut Huskies 9-6 in a game where offense was non-existent.
For the second week in a row, the Missouri Tigers grinded out a victory in games where a ranked team should have made big statements against a lower tier of the FBS.
And for the second week in a row the defense played as well as they could have and the offense couldn’t pick up any sort of rhythm.
UConn only had 233 yards of offense all day as the defense, highlighted by Kentrell Brothers for the third week in a row, played tenacious the entire game including when the Huskies made one last surge in the final minute.
Connecticut coach Bob Diaco faked a game-tying field goal and safety Anthony Sherills read it perfectly and picked off backup Tim Boyle to seal the game.
Had the Huskies converted and eventually scored, there would be virtually no time left for a comeback. Missouri only mustered 270 yards of total offense.
Maty Mauk went 14-of-22 for 145 yards and had the only score on a rollout scramble, but was very inconsistent, particularly on third down. But you could argue those numbers are a little inflated as Tyler Hunt caught a short pass, broke a couple tackles and eluded defenders for 51 yards.
In fairness to Mauk, there was nearly zero help from the rushing attack who only had 85 yards. The defense gave the offense plenty of chances to score points but the Tigers could not capitalize.
The biggest story of the game was Gary Pinkel electing to go with freshman backup QB Drew Lock in the Tigers’ final drive in lieu of Mauk.
Lock looked decent in his only series before and given how Mauk looked all day, it wasn’t unreasonable that Pinkel wanted to give Lock a chance to seal it.
However he wasn’t able to do it as his pass to Nate Brown fell incomplete on a fourth down attempt.
Pinkel is not known for quarterback controversies, but he may have one on his hands now. He has stuck with Mauk through the ugliest of times last year. Missouri’s been on the winning side when Mauk’s been out there.
He may not need to worry at all as the defense has been lights out. They are responsible for two of those nine points after Clarence Green blocked a punt and the ball rolled out of the end zone in the first quarter.
Brothers lead the way again with 10 more tackles and redshirt freshman Walter Brady had two sacks. After a car wreck yesterday Terry Beckner Jr. was able to play and had a very strong performance with a blocked extra point and pretty much lived in the Huskie backfield.
Charles Harris, Josh Augusta, and Marcell Frazier all continued to impress as well.
Pinkel will have to continue to heavily rely on his defense as he gets the quarterback situation all straightened out.
The problem is, they needed to have straightened this out by this game, as they open conference play next week at Kentucky. What was thought to be one of the easier games on their schedule may prove to be a pivotal game early on in the season.