Mizzou hopes make history and stay in the hunt for bowl eligibility, but has to fix a slow-starting offense.
Missouri runs the risk of losing bowl eligibility under Gary Pinkel for the first time since 2004 if it can't split its upcoming homestand against two Texas teams, Texas and Texas Tech. The Tigers have never beaten the Longhorns in school history, and a loss Saturday would force Mizzou to win out (they close against Kansas at Arrowhead on November 26, and all-but-assumed victory). Pinkel downplayed the Longhorn goose egg during his weekly press conference:
"I don't really look at personal things much until the season is over. I'm certainly aware of [being winless against Texas]. I think right now for us, as we've been up and down and very inconsistent this year, with three games left, some goals we want to accomplish are still there. My immediate concern is winning the game. The rest of that stuff you reflect on later."
The Tigers haven't been able score consistently throughout games - they're a fantastic comeback team, and almost completed another comeback against Baylor with 25 fourth quarter points. Pinkel doesn't have an answer for the very slow start of his offense in games:
"I have a sense of what's going on, but if I had the answer, I would have fixed it four weeks ago. You do things in practice to simulate it, you talk about it. It gets to a point where you place so much emphasis on it that you almost put a barrier up in front. There is a fine line in how you handle that. But, without question, it has hurt us. It's put us in catch-up mode in the fourth quarter often this year. We lose a game by three, two games by seven, one game by ten, so it's a problem. We'll continue to work hard on it and go from there.
I've never experienced anything like this. Usually you are concerned because you aren't any good in the fourth quarter. That's not our problem. Our problem is the third quarter. I've never been here before, but from a coaching standpoint, I haven't fixed it so I really haven't done my job."
Texas has been effective early in their wins this season, including a 28 point fourth quarter against Texas Tech last week that the Red Raiders could never recover from.