No. 10 Missouri looks to bounce back

BY foxsports • October 29, 2013

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) No. 10 Missouri is still trying to recover after Saturday's 27-24 double-overtime loss to South Carolina.

The Tigers' dream season hit a major bump after Andrew Baggett missed a 24-yard field goal attempt off the left post.

But
as teammates consoled each other, they realized there's still much to
accomplish in their second season in the Southeastern Conference.

"The sun came up again Sunday morning," noseguard Lucas Vincent said.

Missouri
(7-1, 3-1 SEC) retains a one-game lead over South Carolina in the SEC
East Division, but the Gamecocks own the head-to-head tiebreaker.

If
South Carolina wins its remaining two conference games at home against
Mississippi State and Florida, Missouri would have to win its last four
to reach the conference championship game in Atlanta on Dec. 7.

Coach Gary Pinkel said his team's goals are still within reach; his players practiced Sunday and their psyche is "fine."

"If
you're a player here, why would you not be encouraged?" Pinkel asked.
"You should be the most fired-up football player in America with the
opportunity and options that we have in front of us. But we've got to
take care of our business."

The most difficult part of moving on
will be blocking out how close the Tigers were to being one game away
from clinching the division.

Facing a fourth-and-goal from the
15-yard line, South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw found receiver
Bruce Ellington streaking toward the corner of the end zone to tie
Missouri at 24-all in the first overtime.

"You make calls all
throughout the game," Pinkel said. "You hope you execute them properly.
And sometimes you don't. And sometimes you wish you made another call.
There's just a lot of plays. You can point to that one. We win or lose
as a team."

The Tigers know how one loss can quickly turn into another and derail a season.

Three
years ago, the team knocked off No. 3 Oklahoma to start 7-0 before
losing two consecutive road games at Nebraska and Texas Tech.

Missouri
finished with a 6-2 Big 12 record, tying the Cornhuskers but losing the
head-to-head tiebreaker to advance to the conference championship game.

Vincent
said that as he was walking to the weight room Sunday, offensive
coordinator Josh Henson stopped him and talked to him about how the 2010
team lost to Nebraska and felt it had lost control of all of the goals
for the season.

The loss stuck in the Tigers' heads, resulting in the second defeat that took them out of first place in the North Division.

Missouri hopes to avoid a repeat of that sequence when it faces Tennessee (4-4, 1-3) at home this week.

For his part, first-year Volunteers coach Butch Jones doesn't think the Tigers will be dwelling on their loss very long.

"Every
game is like a new chapter in a book," he said. "It has different story
lines, the way the game goes, the flavor of the game. What you did last
week has no bearing on the outcome of this week."

Missouri will have to relocate an offense that went dormant in the second half of Saturday's game.

Having
entered the matchup scoring 44.3 points and gaining 513.4 yards per
game, Missouri led 14-0 at halftime but added only another three points
and 99 yards in regulation.

Quarterback Maty Mauk is expected to
make his third career start this week, but James Franklin was upgraded
to questionable as his separated throwing shoulder continues to heal.

Cornerback
E.J. Gaines is expected to return after missing two games with a quad
injury. Running back Henry Josey, however, is questionable after
sustaining a concussion against South Carolina.

"The past is a
part of us, but it's not who we are," guard Max Copeland said. "When you
lose, it's important not to lose the lesson, or it's just pain for
nothing. So that's what we're doing. We're extracting the little seed of
wisdom, we're casting away the shell and we're focusing on the
present."


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