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Monday, September 10, 2012

The Tigers Fall to the Bulldogs -- And to the Tigers

Posted By on Mon, Sep 10, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Page 3 of 3

"Riddle me this: what play would no one ever, ever call in this situation, on account of it being completely insane?" 
  • "Riddle me this: what play would no one ever, ever call in this situation, on account of it being completely insane?" 
And then, of course, there was the fake punt. Of all the mistakes made on the field, all the poor decisions made by Franklin, and all the poor choices made on the sidelines by the coaching staff (or up in the booth, as the case may be), none loomed so large as the fake punt. It might even need to be capitalized: the Fake Punt. Down four points, the Tigers tried to run a fake punt play, with the snap going, not to an up player with a chance, but to the punter, who then tried to rush for a first down. Early in the fourth quarter, with roughly 14 minutes remaining, down just four points, from their own 35 yard line, needing 11 yards for the first down, the Missouri Tigers tried a fake punt, with their punter taking the snap. He got three yards. It was perhaps the single most inexplicable call I have ever personally witnessed on a football field. If it were to come out today that Gary Pinkel suffered a mild stroke during the game, just before calling the fake punt, I would be not only unsurprised, but slightly relieved.

All of it added up to a game which just fell apart for the Tigers late. Physical errors, bad plays, big mistakes, and horrible playcalling do not add up to winning football. Particularly not when playing an opponent of Georgia's quality. And yet for three quarters, in spite of a gameplan that appeared to have been drawn up by The Riddler, Mizzou looked like a team that could hang with the Bulldogs.

The score looks like a rude welcome to the best conference in college football for the Missouri Tigers. The game, though, looked like a team plenty good to compete who just couldn't figure out their identity. It was frustrating. Maddening, even. And yet the Tigers never looked overmatched.

Well, except by themselves, that is.

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