Everything Missouri does seems to work. Back-up quarterback against one of the top defenses in the SEC? No problem. Beat Georgia and Florida in back-to-back weeks? No sweat. You name it, Missouri has done it this season and the Tigers are now the team to beat in the SEC East. Missouri continued to climb the division ladder on Saturday with a 36-17 victory over Florida, holding the visiting Gators to just 151 yards of offense while racking up 500 yards themselves.
Missouri got more than they needed from back-up quarterback Maty Mauk, who completed half of his passes for 295 yards and a touchdown while being picked off once and rushing for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Henry Josey put together a great afternoon on the ground with 136 rushing yards against a Florida defense that was run over by LSU a week ago. This was a game of defense setting up the offense to take advantage and the special teams coming through in a big way for the Tigers. Missouri kicker Andrew Baggett converted all five field goal attempts he was asked to try.
Missouri’s win could not have come on a better day. South Carolina lost to Tennessee and Georgia lost to Vanderbilt, putting Missouri comfortably in first place in the SEC East with a two-game lead in the loss column. Next week Missouri will host South Carolina, who may be without Connor Shaw after suffering a left knee sprain. If Missouri wins next weekend’s battle of the Columbias, the Tigers will take a giant step forward to Atlanta to play in the SEC Championship Game.
This Missouri team is for real. They may not be on par with Alabama, LSU or Texas A&M, but in the middle of October they are certainly the class of the SEC East right now, having picked up wins against Florida and Georgia already.
They are Missouri, and they just may be awesome.
As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.
From the university:
The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits. During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle. In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles. He later corrected his account and since apologized.
As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.
Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”
The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.
Hope he’s been practicing.
Say it ain’t so, Steve.
According to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated Monday evening, Steve Spurrier is set to retire.
Spurrier, 70, is a legend the likes college football has never seen before and never will again.
He was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida, then returned to his alma mater and turned the program into a juggernaut, leading the Gators to 122-27-1 record from 1990-01 and a national championship in 1996. After a stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier landed at South Carolina, where since 2005 he’s racked up a school record 86 wins.
But those wins slowed down of late. After an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13, the Gamecocks fell to 7-6 in 2014, and are off to a 2-4 mark this fall. With the possibility of losses to nemeses old and new like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson ahead, Spurrier, it appears, would rather fade away quietly to the putting green.
Perhaps no two sentences summarize Spurrier, then and now, more precisely than this:
Combined with his three years at Duke, Spurrier closes up shop with a 228-89-2 mark, and a bust in the coaches’ wing of the Hall of Fame waiting for him.