Columbia will be rockin' when Johnny Football comes to town

BY foxsports • November 25, 2013


The stage is set for the biggest Mizzou football game in years.
 
The
Tigers went on the road and took care of business, beating Ole Miss
24-10 on Saturday night to move one step closer to a berth in the
Southeastern Conference championship game on Dec. 7 in Atlanta.
 
The
only thing standing in Mizzou's way now is a game against Texas A&M
and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel on Saturday night
at Memorial Stadium.
 
"It's a huge game,” Missouri coach Gary
Pinkel said. "We're going to play against the best player in college
football. ... This is a real important game. It's in the Zou. Our fans
will be going crazy, which is awesome. It's a championship game. This is
what you want. We have a share of the championship now. This is what
you do it for. This is fun. It's intense. It's exciting. This is what
you do. Our players will be excited about getting out there and
playing.”
 
Mizzou is now 10-1 overall and 6-1 in the SEC, which
clinches a share of the East Division title with South Carolina (9-2,
6-2) but doesn't guarantee a trip to Atlanta because of the head-to-head
loss to the Gamecocks. The Tigers need to beat Texas A&M (8-3,
4-3), which is coming off a 34-10 loss at LSU on Saturday night.
 
Pinkel's
squad is 10-1 for the first time since 2007. That group went 11-1 in
the regular season, including a win over rival Kansas at Arrowhead
Stadium to clinch the Big 12 North Division title, before losing to
Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game in San Antonio.
 
The
2013 Tigers have an opportunity to do something special over the next
two weeks. A win against Texas A&M would give Mizzou a chance to
face either top-ranked Alabama or No. 4 Auburn in the SEC championship
game -- in the team's second year in the conference.
 
It won't be easy, though.
 
The
Aggies come in ranking sixth among FBS schools in points per game
(45.6) and passing yards per game (365.1). Manziel, who still has a
chance to win another Heisman Trophy, has accounted for 4,202 total
yards and 40 touchdowns this season.
 
TIGERS MOVE UP IN RANKINGS
 
Mizzou moves up three spots when the BCS standings were released on Sunday.
 
The
Tigers benefited from Baylor and Oregon both losing Saturday and then
jumped ahead of Clemson, which is No. 6. Alabama, Florida State and Ohio
State remain in the top three spots, respectively, with Auburn moving
up from sixth to fourth.
 
The computer rankings used to determine
the BCS standings have Pinkel's squad with an average position of
fifth, as high as fourth and as low as 10th.  
 
Missouri moved up
from eighth to fifth in the Associated Press Top 25 and bumped up from
eighth to sixth in the USA Today Coaches Poll and the Harris Poll.
 
BRANTLEY EARNS HONOR
 
Defensive tackle Harold Brantley was named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week on Monday.
 
Brantley,
a redshirt freshman from Hershey, Pa., made two big plays in the win at
Ole Miss. He blocked a 23-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter
and then ran for 26 yards on a fake punt in the third quarter.
 
Brantley's
honor is the 11th SEC weekly award for the Tigers this season. He is
the fourth Mizzou defensive lineman to be honored, joining Michael Sam,
Markus Golden and Kony Ealy.
 
VOLLEYBALL TEAM CELEBRATES TITLE
 
The
Missouri volleyball team captured the school's first SEC championship
on Friday when it swept Mississippi State in front of a school-record
7,879 fans at the Hearnes Center.
 
"This is obviously pretty
special and it is a really hard thing to do -- to win a regular-season
conference championship," Tigers coach Wayne Kreklow said. "I think this
all started last spring when the team, led my Molly (Kreklow) and Lisa
(Henning), really committed themselves to doing this. There was a lot of
work in the summer, in the spring, and it is great for this to pay off.
To be the first SEC champion at Mizzou is really special, but this is
just one of our goals for the year.”
 
Missouri, which moved up to
No. 4 in the rankings last week, then swept No. 16 Kentucky on Sunday
in Lexington to improve to 33-0 overall and 17-0 in SEC play. The Tigers
conclude the regular season with a match against Arkansas on Wednesday
at Hearnes Center.
 
The team will honor its two seniors and
driving forces, Henning and Kreklow, on Wednesday. Both four-year
starters, Henning is an outside hitter from Blue Springs, Mo., and
Kreklow is a setter from Delano, Minn.
 
BASKETBALL SQUADS UNDEFEATED
 
The Missouri men's and women's basketball teams are both off to strong starts.
 
The
men are 4-0 going into their Monday night matchup against visiting
IUPUI -- the second game of the Las Vegas Invitational and the final
game with Tim Fuller serving as coach in Frank Haith's absence.
 
The
Tigers then move on quickly to Las Vegas to continue the Invitational
with games against Northwestern and Nevada on Thursday and Friday.
 
Mizzou
has been led by its backcourt, as expected. Jabari Brown and Jordan
"Ninja Blender" Clarkson are both averaging 18 points per game, with
Earnest Ross contributing 13 points per contest.
 
The Tigers have
had closer-than-expected games against Southern Illinois, Hawaii and
Gardner-Webb. All three contests were within two points at halftime
before Missouri pulled away, slightly, in the second half.
 
You
would think Northwestern (3-2) and Nevada (3-3) would be tougher tests,
but not necessarily. Northwestern lost to Illinois State and beat IUPUI
(1-4) by just two points, and Nevada has lost to Pacific, Cal State
Bakersfield and Morehead State.
 
Fuller and Haith will need to
continue to work on getting post players Johnathan Williams III, Ryan
Rosburg and Tony Criswell more involved offensively against undersized
opposing front lines.
 
The Mizzou women improved to 5-0 with a 77-74 win at Tennessee-Martin on Saturday.
 
The
Tigers, who got 27 points from junior guard Morgan Eye and 17 rebounds
from freshman forward Jordan Frericks, had to rally from a 14-point
deficit to earn the victory.
 
Bri Kulas, a senior forward from
Shawnee Mission, Kan., was named SEC co-player of the week on Monday
after averaging 21.5 points in two games. She leads the team at 16.2
points per game.
 
The Mizzou women return to action Tuesday night against UMKC at Mizzou Arena.
 
TWEET OF THE WEEK


You can follow Nate Latsch on Twitter (@natelatsch) or email him at natelatsch@gmail.com.


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