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No. 8 Missouri beat No. 24 Mississippi 24-10

Saturday, 23 November 2013 23:22 Published in Sports

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — The Missouri Tigers might not have a roster full of superstars.

But as a collective they're an awfully tough bunch to beat, and the Tigers are now one victory away from playing for a Southeastern Conference championship in just their second season in the league.

Henry Josey rushed for two touchdowns, Marcus Murphy added another and No. 8 Missouri rolled to a 24-10 victory over No. 24 Mississippi on Saturday night.

"To say I'm proud of my football team and my staff would be an understatement," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "They battle every time they play. They prepare well and focus at a very high level."

The Tigers strolled into a hostile environment at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and never flinched, jumping out to a 17-3 lead by halftime for the relatively easy victory.

Now the big one awaits for the Tigers (10-1, 6-1 Southeastern Conference). The Tigers host Texas A&M next weekend, with a win clinching the SEC's East Division title.

James Franklin completed 12 of 19 passes for 142 yards and an interception in his first start since a shoulder injury caused him to miss four games.

"I thought he did an outstanding job," Pinkel said. "The guy hadn't played in six weeks and there was a lot of pressure on him to play well."

The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for Ole Miss (7-4, 3-4). Bo Wallace threw for 244 yards and an interception, but was battling an illness for much of the game and struggled during the second half.

Donte Moncrief caught six passes for 115 yards, but dropped what would have been a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

Ole Miss made three trips to the red zone, but managed just three points.

"It's impossible to beat a top 10 team when you get in the red zone and don't score touchdowns or points," Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said. "... If you don't score some points in the red zone against that team you aren't going to win."

It's the fourth 10-win season for Missouri in the past seven years and was coach Gary Pinkel's 100th win with the Tigers.

The Tigers' used a deep running back rotation to slowly wear down the Ole Miss defense. Josey had most of the big plays, but Russell Hansbrough and Murphy combined for 99 more yards, helping Missouri shorten the game in the second half with time-consuming drives.

Missouri jumped out to a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter after a blistering eight-play, 72-yard drive that took less than three minutes. Andrew Baggett added a 33-yard field goal and Murphy scored on a 3-yard run in the second quarter as the Tigers took a 17-3 halftime lead.

The Tigers finished with 485 total yards, including 260 on the ground.

"We're just a focused team," Missouri linebacker Andrew Wilson said. "The coaches did a good job keeping us focused. We had a great gameplan. We knew what we had to do."

Franklin — making his first start since suffering a shoulder injury Oct. 12 — completed 7 of 7 passes for 89 yards in the first half.

The Ole Miss offense had a few opportunities to match Missouri, but kept blowing opportunities in the red zone. The litany of errors included two false start penalties, one blocked field goal attempt and several unsuccessful running plays.

But the Rebels regrouped in the third quarter, pulling within 17-10 on the opening drive of the second half on I'Tavius Mathers' 45-yard run. The sophomore bounced off a few would-be tacklers and then dashed down the left sideline, outrunning a pair of Mizzou defenders into the end zone.

The momentum was short lived. Missouri responded with an 86-yard touchdown drive that ended on Josey's second touchdown of the night and the Tigers had a 24-10 lead.

Bo Wallace completed 20 of 28 passes for 172 yards and an interception in the first half, but didn't start the second half because he was sick. Wallace and backup Barry Brunetti split snaps in the second half, but neither had much success.

Moncrief had a productive night, but his dropped pass in the end zone was a microcosm of the Rebels' frustrating night. Ole Miss could have cut Missouri's lead to 24-17 with eight minutes remaining, but instead turned the ball over on downs one play later and Missouri went on to its third straight victory.

 

Missouri WR Green-Beckham back in spotlight

Thursday, 21 November 2013 23:38 Published in Sports

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Dorial Green-Beckham remembers how it felt to play as a freshman.

Paralleling the roller-coaster ride No. 8 Missouri has taken in the Southeastern Conference, the star receiver experienced a tumultuous first season before landing on his feet this year, appearing at ease as he jokes with teammates and talks without hesitation to reporters.

"Now that it's my second year, I feel a lot more comfortable," Green-Beckham said. "I'm not looking back to what I did last year."

The sophomore arrived in Columbia after amassing national prep records of 6,353 career receiving yards and 75 touchdown receptions, fueling expectations that rivaled those of any other incoming player in school history.

Green-Beckham then led Missouri with five touchdown catches, but often got lost in the shuffle of a seven-man receiving rotation, including a three-game stretch in which he caught three passes for 16 yards. Off the field, he pleaded guilty for trespassing after an initial arrest for suspicion of possessing marijuana.

"When you walk into a school and you start as a true freshman, you've got those nerves every single game," sophomore center Evan Boehm said. "You know you have eyes on you. You can't mess up, and that's all you're worried about."

With help from his teammates, Green-Beckham gradually became more comfortable with the playbook and his new surroundings.

"I didn't know what I was doing sometimes," he said, "but having those guys whispering stuff to you and letting it click in your head, after a few times, you just got it down quickly."

After catching 28 passes for 395 yards last season, the 6-foot-6, 225-pound native of Springfield, Mo., has 40 receptions for 579 yards and nine touchdowns this year, capped by a school-record four-score performance Nov. 9 in a 48-17 win at Kentucky.

Coach Gary Pinkel thought Green-Beckham was a step quicker in practice leading up to the matchup with the Wildcats, but he didn't realize it would be a harbinger of things to come.

"There's a lot of players I could talk about that were just kind of doing OK, playing well, playing well, then all of a sudden, they're playing at a whole different level," he said. "And it happens to very gifted players who keep working hard and persevere and keep battling to get better."

Green-Beckham says he enters each contest with the mentality that he can't be stopped, because that's what it takes to win. Even though he wasn't running past Kentucky's defensive backs, he made the most of his lanky frame and jumped over them to haul in three of his touchdowns.

Missouri (9-1, 5-1 SEC) has four receivers who are at least 6-foot-4, helping the team weather the loss of senior quarterback James Franklin to injury and pass for 256.8 yards per game.

First-year receivers coach Pat Washington said all of his players are enjoying the Tigers' resurgence, and their attitude will dictate whether the team can defeat No. 24 Ole Miss (7-3, 3-3) and Texas A&M to capture the SEC East.

"Anytime you have a little success, and you can contribute, then you enjoy it," Washington said. "Not to say you're selfish, because I think all guys enjoy winning, but competitive people want to contribute."

Senior L'Damian Washington leads Missouri with 680 receiving yards — including 18.9 per catch — and has nine touchdowns, but the spotlight will keep shining on Green-Beckham if he and the Tigers continue their success after a 5-7 season a year ago.

"For him, it's all going to boil down to continuing to improve those little things — staying humble, continuing to work," offensive coordinator Josh Henson said. "And then just being very detailed at what he does. If he does all that, physically he can be as good as anybody that plays this game."

Blues beat Bruins 3-2 on Roy's shootout goal

Thursday, 21 November 2013 23:34 Published in Sports

 

BOSTON (AP) -- Derek Roy scored once in regulation and again in the fourth round of the shootout on Thursday night as the St. Louis Blues beat the Boston Bruins 3-2.

Jaroslav Halak stopped 27 shots in regulation, two more in the overtime and three in the shootout as St. Louis won for the fourth time in five games and continued the hottest start in its history. David Backes also scored for the Blues, and NHL points-leader Alexander Steen converted their other shootout goal after going the entire game without a shot.

Gregory Campbell and Carl Soderberg scored for Boston. Tuukka Rask made 24 saves and forced Roy to put one off the post on a breakaway in the first minute of the overtime.

Soderberg broke in alone on the goal in the last 15 seconds of the overtime, but he meekly shot it into Halak's pads just before the final buzzer.

That sent the game to a shootout, and Boston took an early lead when Patrice Bergeron beat Halak over his shoulder to make it 1-0. T.J. Oshie, David Krejci and Jarome Iginla all missed before Steen poked it through Rask's pads to tie the shootout 1-1 after three tries apiece.

Chris Kelly missed for Boston in the first extra round, and Roy went in quickly, skidded to a stop and then went around Rask to poke the puck in for the winner.

It was St. Louis' 15th win in 21 games this season.

The Bruins scored late in the first when Blues defenseman Ian Cole fell in his own end, allowing Boston to keep the puck in the zone. Torey Krug slid it over to Campbell, who tried to one-time it but sculled it off the heel of his stick. The slow-moving puck seemed to confuse Halak and went into the net off the corner of the post.

But the Blues tied it just 37 seconds later, when Roy wristed the puck toward the net from the left point. Stewart tried to deflect it near the circle, missing the puck but knocking a defender's stick away. Another Blues player tried to get a stick on it in the crease but it also eluded him as he was taken down by Boston defenseman Matt Bartkowski.

Instead, the undeflected puck went right through Rask's legs to make it 1-all with 9 seconds left in the period.

St. Louis took a 2-1 lead late in the second when Kevin Shattenkirk's wrist shot from the point was deflected into the net by David Backes. It was Shattenkirk's 100th career assist.

This time it was the Bruins' turn to answer quickly.

About 2 1/2 minutes after the Blues took the lead, Reilly Smith fed the puck from behind the net to Soderberg in the slot and he beat Halak to tie it 2-2.

NOTES: Hall of Famer Bobby Orr took part in a ceremonial puck drop. John "Pie" McKenzie, another member of the 1970 and '72 Stanley Cup champions, was also in attendance. The 1970 team swept St. Louis in the finals. ... The Bruins called up D Kevan Miller to fill in while Adam McQuaid and Dennis Seidenberg are out with undisclosed injuries. Miller made his NHL debut. ... St. Louis finished a three-game road stretch. They split the first two, losing to Washington and beating Buffalo by 4-1 scores. ... The first penalty of the game was called with 1:54 gone in the third period. ... Steen entered the night tied for the league lead with Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby at 26.

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