Missouri Football: Report-Card Grades for the Tigers' First Game

Adam Spencer@AdamSpencer4Correspondent ISeptember 6, 2011

Missouri Football: Report-Card Grades for the Tigers' First Game

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    The Missouri Tigers won their first game of the 2011 college football season on Saturday, defeating the Miami (Ohio) Redhawks.

    But, in the 17-6 win, there were a lot of things left to be desired.

    The offense looked stagnant at times. Meanwhile, the defense allowed a few long drives before forcing turnovers.

    If they can’t stop a team like Miami (Ohio), they are going to have a lot of trouble stopping Arizona State.

    But, overall, a win is a win. The Tigers are 1-0, so everything is still all right in the big picture.

    For now, let’s take a look at a report card of the team’s performance on Saturday.

Quarterback Play: C

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    New quarterback James Franklin certainly struggled on Saturday.

    He was very inaccurate with his passes, especially on those longer than five yards.

    If he can’t figure out how to deliver the ball to his receivers downfield, this is going to be a long season for the Tigers.

    On the bright side, Franklin looked outstanding running the football. He is speedy and, most importantly, he did an excellent job of protecting the football.

Running Game: B-

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    Kendial Lawrence had a really tough game, running for 10 yards on nine carries.

    James Franklin had the most rushing yards in the game, with 72. He also scored Mizzou’s only rushing touchdown for the day.

    The running game did look better than it did at any point last year, though.

Receivers: B

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    The receivers didn’t do much on Saturday, but that’s mostly because Franklin wasn’t getting them the ball.

    T.J. Moe had a good day, leading the Tigers with six catches for 56 yards.

    Tight end Michael Egnew needs to have more passes thrown his way.

    When he finishes a game with only two catches for 12 yards, the quarterback wasn’t doing his job.

Offensive Line: A-

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    The offensive line didn’t cause Franklin’s bad day.

    It wasn’t their fault that he couldn’t throw the ball downfield. The linemen gave him plenty of time.

    They did a good job of opening up holes for him to run through as well.

    They definitely miss Elvis Fisher, but if everyone else can stay healthy, they’ll be a strong unit this season.

Defensive Line: B-

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    The D-Line did a good job against the Redhawks’ Zac Dysert.

    They kept him running around behind the line of scrimmage for a large portion of the day.

    But, they lost a key player in Jacquies Smith. He dislocated his elbow on Saturday and is now doubtful for Friday’s game against Arizona State.

Linebackers: B-

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    The linebackers held the Redhawks to just 2.1 yards per carry on the day.

    But, just like with the D-Line, injuries struck the unit.

    Will Ebner, one of the best linebackers on the team, left with an injury and is also questionable for the Arizona State game.

    Without Ebner and Smith, the defense isn’t quite as fierce.

Secondary: B

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    Zac Dysert and the Miami (OH) offense passed the ball for only 194 yards.

    They did make it to the red zone a few times, though.

    On one such occasion, cornerback E.J. Gaines made a diving interception at the goal line to save a touchdown. He’ll need to continue having a good year to replace Kevin Rutland and Carl Gettis at the cornerback position.

Kicking/Punting: A

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    Not much to complain about here.

    Grant Ressel went 1-for-1 on field goals, hitting a 38-yarder in the second quarter. He was also 2-for-2 on extra points.

    As for punting, Trey Barrow pinned the Redhawks inside the 20-yard line three times.

    The kicking game was one of the strongest aspects of the Tigers’ performance on Saturday.

Overall: C-

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    Overall, a win is a win, no matter how ugly it is.

    Still, there’s not much to be optimistic about from the Tigers’ 17-6 win over the Redhawks.

    The defense looked good, but lost two starters to injury. The offense needs to really work on getting better during this week of practice.

    Mizzou isn’t going to win on Friday night at Arizona State with an effort like the one they had on Saturday.