September 10, 2011
Missouri kicker Grant Ressel missed a go-ahead 48 yard field goal with 12 seconds left after Missouri coach Gary Pinkel called consecutive timeouts before Ressel finally attempted the kick on his third try lining up. That's right: By all appearances, Pinkel was attempting to ice his own kicker in a game that the Tigers subsequently lost.
It's possible Ressel wasn't preparing to kick the ball on the first two attempts but it seems almost cruel to have the kicker line up as if he's going to kick — twice — and take a breather before attempting a long field goal.
Maybe Pinkel was attempting to draw Arizona State offside? Because it was 4th and 5, an offside penalty would have given Missouri a first down and the Sun Devils were already penalized 12 times. (Sure enough, after the game, Pinkel said he wanted to draw ASU linebacker Vontaze Burfict offside.)
But penalty possibilities notwithstanding, it was an odd time to bring the game to a screeching halt. The Tigers had just reeled off 14 points to tie the game at 30 after Jamal Miles muffed a punt and Missouri had gotten from their own 5 to the ASU 30 with ease on that final possession of regulation.
A lot of those yards on that drive were courtesy of a 39 yard run by Henry Josey, but that run was made possible by the second half emergence of quarterback James Franklin, who tossed two fourth quarter touchdown passes. Assigned with the unenviable task of succeeding prolific, NFL-bound stars Brad Smith, Chase Daniel and Blaine Gabbert, Franklin struggled in his first start, a 17-6 win against Miami (Ohio). He started slowly on Friday night, too, but finished the game 26 of 42 passing for 319 yards and and added 84 more yards on the ground on 27 carries with three of the Tigers' top four running backs on the shelf with injuries.
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Even more impressive was ASU quarterback Brock Osweiler, who picked apart the Missouri secondary for 353 yards and 3 TDs on 24-32 passing. If the 6-foot-8 Osweiler — if you were watching the ESPN broadcast, you would have heard Osweiler's height referenced once a series — continues to play as effectively as he has in the first two weeks, Arizona State is very much on its way to fulfilling its sleeper billing in the Pac-12 South.
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