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No. 5 Missouri Reaching New Heights

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Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 4:30 pm

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Few outside of the Missouri locker room expected the Tigers to compete in the Southeastern Conference in just their second season in the league.

Predicted to finish sixth in the SEC East, the team is now ranked fifth in the country and holds a two-game lead in the division.

The Tigers (7-0, 3-0 SEC) remained healthy until quarterback James Franklin and cornerback E.J. Gaines sustained injuries Oct. 12 at Georgia. But they won again Saturday, beating Florida at home and now are preparing to face No. 20 South Carolina with a chance to practically wrap up the division.

Though the goals are getting much bigger.

“We’d be dumb if our goal wasn’t to go to a national championship,” left tackle Justin Britt said.

Coming off one of the “most difficult up-and-down” years he’s had as a coach, Gary Pinkel said he didn’t do a good job of managing his team’s emotions when it went 5-7 last season.

This year’s group has more fun, he said, citing an example of how his players participate in sing-a-longs before Wednesday practices.

“That doesn’t mean that you’re going to win all your games, either,” Pinkel said. “What it means is you’re going to have a group of guys who care about each other. . It’s just the chemistry that happens for teams. It’s really cool to see it.”

On the field, the 13th-year Missouri coach eliminated two-a-day practices in August in part to show his players that the staff cared about their health.

When Franklin and Gaines went down, their substitutes step in and stepped up.

Quarterback Maty Mauk led eight scoring drives and cornerback Aarion Penton nabbed his first interception in a 36-17 win against Florida.

“You came to perform at the college level,” Mauk said. “It kind of is nerve-wracking, but at the same time, it’s what you’re here to do.”

Now the team’s challenge is to focus on South Carolina (5-2, 3-2) and not its status in the polls. In 2008, the Tigers lost consecutive games after opening the season 5-0 and reaching No. 3 in the country. Two years later, following a 36-27 win over No. 3 Oklahoma to start 7-0, they again lost their next two contests.

Pinkel recalled talking to the late Don James after defeating the Sooners, listening impatiently as his mentor and former coach told him the next game would be even more difficult as he needed to keep his team grounded. But now Pinkel’s thankful for that lesson, and preaches it to his team.

“I don’t think we’ve accomplished much,” receiver L’Damian Washington said. “Georgia, last week, you’d have thought, ‘OK, that’s a big win.’ After the game, we were like, ‘OK, that’s just step six.’ And this was step seven, and next week is step eight.”

Winning its first seven games by at least 15 points apiece, Missouri has rediscovered the potent offense it employed from 2007-11 when it went 48-19 and averaged 34.9 points per game.

Under new coordinator Josh Henson, this year’s team has bumped that number to 44.3, thanks to 279 yards per game through the air and another 234.4 on the ground.

Defensively, Missouri has limited opponents to 22.1 points and 381 yards per game, including just 116.6 rushing yards. The Tigers lead the SEC with 23 sacks, and end Michael Sam is tied for first nationally with nine.

The gaudy numbers don’t necessarily translate into wins, but they explain why Missouri is in the driver’s seat in the SEC East. If they win their next two games at home against the Gamecocks and Tennessee, the Tigers will clinch a berth in the conference championship game Dec. 7 in Atlanta.

“Personally, I like being the underdog, because not a lot of people were expecting us to do the things that we’re doing right now,” center Evan Boehm said. “And we’re out there to create those big eyes and say, ‘Holy cow, where did Mizzou come from?’”

© 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Area Scoreboard

Washington Post 218 Senior Legion Tournament

Pools

Pool A — St. Charles 3-1, Manchester 3-1, Jefferson City 2-2, Union 1-3, Columbia 1-3

Pool B — Ballwin 4-0, Thoman Boothe 3-1, SEMO 2-2, Washington 1-3, New Haven 0-4

Pool Games

At Ronsick Field Unless Noted

Wednesday, June 15

St. Charles 9, Manchester 8

Thoman Boothe 5, Washington 4

St. Charles 3, Union 2

SEMO 16, New Haven 0

Thursday, June 16

Washington 11, New Haven 1

St. Charles 3, Jefferson City 2

Ballwin 9, Thoman Boothe 1

Union 7, Columbia 2

Friday, June 17

Jefferson City 10, Union 0

Ballwin 12, New Haven 2

Manchester 8, Columbia 6

SEMO 6, Washington 1

Saturday, June 18

At Ronsick Field

Thoman Boothe 4, New Haven 0

Thoman Boothe 4, SEMO 3

Manchester 8, Columbia 6

Ballwin 3, Washington 2

At Borgia

Manchester 7, Union 3

Manchester 2, Jefferson City 1

Jefferson City 3, Columbia 1

Columbia 4, St. Charles 1

Sunday, June 19

Semifinal 1 — St. Charles 7, Thoman Boothe 3

Semifinal 2 — Manchester 3, Ballwin 1

Championship — Manchester 9, St. Charles 1

Washington Post 218 Seniors

5-31    *Washington 15, St. Clair 2

6-1    Washington 7, Eureka 3

6-2    *Washington 13, West 0

6-4    #Washington 13, Chillicothe 1

6-4    #Washington 10, Sedalia 7

6-5    #Washington 11, Fike 3

6-5    #Washington 3, Jefferson City 2

6-7    *Washington 15, Pacific 0

6-8    *Washington 16, Sullivan 2

6-9    *Washington 15, St. Charles 2

6-10    Washington 10, Festus 0

6-11    *Washington 24, St. Clair 0

6-12    *Washington 10, O’Fallon 3

6-15    $Thoman Boothe 5, Washington 4

6-16    $Washington 11, New Haven 1

6-17    $SEMO 6, Washington 1

6-18    $Ballwin 3, Washington 2

6-22    *New Haven    PPD

6-24    Manchester    7 p.m.

6-25    *Elsberry    6 p.m.

6-26    at De Soto    6 p.m.

6-28    *at Wentzville    8 p.m.

6-29    *Warrenton    8:30 p.m.

6-30    *at New Haven    7 p.m.

7-1    *St. Peters    7 p.m.

7-2    *at Union    noon

7-3    *Owensville    3:30 p.m.

7-6    at Blue Springs Tny    TBA

7-7    at Blue Springs Tny    TBA

7-8    at Blue Springs Tny    TBA

7-9    at Blue Springs Tny    TBA

7-10    at Blue Springs Tny    TBA

7-14    District Tny    TBA

* Ninth District Games

# Sedalia Tournament

$ Washington Tournament

Washington Post 218 Juniors

5-26    Washington 9, Thoman Boothe 1

5-27    #Washington 11, Ballwin 1

5-28    #Washington 7, Highland, Ill., 1

5-29    #Washington 7, Union 2

5-29    #Jefferson City 1, Washington 0

6-3    *Washington 14, St. Clair 1

6-4    *Washington 7, O'Fallon 1

6-5    *Washington 8, Hannibal 5

6-5    Washington 6, Alton, Ill. 3

6-7    *Washington 13, Pacific 3

6-9    *Washington 4, St. Charles 1

6-12    *Washington 7, Elsberry 4

6-18   Belleville, Ill., 4, Washington 3

6-18   Washington 13, Belleville, Ill., 1

6-21   *Washington 10, Warrenton 3

6-22    Washington 8, Festus 2

6-24    *at New Haven    6 p.m.

6-25    *Wentzville    3:30 p.m.

6-26    *Union    1 p.m.

6-27    *at Sullivan    6 p.m.

6-28    Manchester (DH)    6 p.m.

6-29    at St. Clair    8 p.m.

7-2    at Festus (DH)    noon

7-5    District Tournament    TBA

* Ninth District Games

# Post 218 Memorial Weekend Tournament

Washington Post 218 Freshmen

5-19    #Washington 3, Ballwin 0

5-20    #Washington 7, Manchester 5

5-21    #Washington 8, New Haven 3

5-22    #Washington 13, Ballwin 2

5-25    *Sullivan 3, Washington 2

5-25    *Washington 14, Sullivan 2

5-26    *Washington 13, Union 0

5-31    *Washington 14, St. Clair 0

6-2    *Washington 10, Wentzville 4

6-4    *Washington 3, Hannibal 0

6-4    *St. Clair 5, Washington 2

6-7    *Washington 5, St. Charles 0

6-8    *Washington 10, St. Peters 0

6-12    *Washington 9, St. Charles 5

6-13    *Washington 10, St. Peters 0

6-14    *Washington 11, New Haven 1

6-14    *Washington 11, Union 1

6-16    *Washington 8, Rosebud 4

6-18    *Washington 11, Pacific 0

6-18    *Washington 14, Pacific 0

6-21    *Washington 4, Rosebud 2

6-24    *at New Haven    8 p.m.

6-25    *Elsberry    1 p.m.

6-29    *Warrenton    6 p.m.

7-1    District Tournament    TBA

* Ninth District Games

# Washington Tournament Games

Union Post 297 Seniors

5-31    *Union 4, Warrenton 0

6-1    *St. Clair 6, Union 3

6-2    *Pacific 6, Union 5

6-4    *Elsberry 5, Union 2

6-6    *New Haven 11, Union 7

6-8    *Union 16, West 0

6-15    ^St. Charles 3, Union 2

6-16    ^Union 7, Columbia 2

6-17    ^Jefferson City 10, Union 0

6-18    ^Manchester 7, Union 3

6-21    *Union 16, St. Peters 0

6-22    *O'Fallon 3, Union 2

6-25    *at St. Charles    noon

6-27    *at St. Clair    6 p.m.

6-29    *Sullivan    5:30 p.m.

7-1    *at Warrenton    5:30 p.m.

7-2    *Washington    noon

7-6-10    at Blue Springs Wood Bat Tny    TBA

7-12    Ninth Distirct Tny    TBA

* Ninth District Games

^Washington Tournament

Union Post 297 Juniors

5-25    PPD at Farmington

5-26    #Union 2, Eureka 1

5-29    #Jefferson City 15, Union 5

5-30    #Washington 7, Union 2

6-2    *Union 5, Warrenton 4

6-4    *Elsberry 10, Union 7

6-4    *Elsberry 6, Union 2

6-5    *Union 9, St. Clair 8

6-7    Union 13, Manchester 4

6-11    *Union 9, St. Charles 8

6-11    *Union 4, St. Charles 3

6-12    *Sullivan 13, Union 0

6-12    *Union 2, Hannibal 1

6-15    *Union 7, St. Clair 1

6-16    *Union 11, New Haven 4

6-18    &Illinois Stix 5, Union 1

6-18    &Union 7, ECI M80s 5

6-19    &Macon Co Jokers 12, Union 1

6-19    &Union 9, Gamers 0

6-22    *O'Fallon 8, Union 1

6-24    *Wentzville    5:30 p.m.

6-25    Farmington (DH)    1 p.m.

6-26    *at Washington    1 p.m.

6-28    *Warrenton    6 p.m.

6-30    *at Sullivan    6 p.m.

7-2    *Pacific    10 a.m.

7-5    Ninth District Tny    TBA

7-23    All-Star Game, Elsberry    4 p.m.

* Ninth District Games

Union Post 297 Freshmen

5-19 #New Haven 15, Union 4

5-20 #Eureka 8, Union 5

5-22 #Manchester 7, Union 3

5-24   Eureka 9, Union 2

5-26    *Washington 13, Union 0

5-31    *Wentzville 6, Union 2

6-2    *St. Charles 21, Union 10

6-4    *Hannibal 12, Union 6

6-5    *St. Clair 10, Union 0

6-9    *Sullivan 11, Union 1

6-11    *Warrenton 3, Union 2

6-11    *Warrenton 14, Union 5

6-12    *St. Peters 8, Union 7

6-12    *St. Peters 12, Union 2

6-14    *Washington 11, Union 1

6-16    *New Haven 1, Union 0

6-23    *Union 22, Pacific 1

6-26    *Rosebud (DH)    noon, 5 p.m.

6-30    *St. Clair    5:30 p.m.

7-5    Ninth District Tny    TBA

7-23    All-Star Game, Elsberry    1 p.m.

* Ninth District Games

Pacific Post 402 Seniors

6-2    *Pacific 6, Union 5

6-3    *at Elsberry    8 p.m.

6-7    *Washington 15, Pacific 0

6-14    *Pacific 2, Sullivan 1

6-14    *Pacific 10, Sullivan 2

6-15    *O'Fallon 6, Pacific 5

6-18    *Pacific 6, West 4

6-22    *Pacific 4, St. Clair 1

6-25    *at St. Clair, 4 p.m.

6-26    *at St. Peters    5 p.m.

6-30    *at Warrenton    5:30 p.m.

7-1    *at St. Charles TBA

*Ninth District Games

Pacific Post 402 Juniors

6-1    *New Haven 5, Pacific 1

6-3    *O'Fallon 5, Pacific 3

6-4    *Warrenton 16, Pacific 9

6-7    *Washington 13, Pacific 3

6-9    *Sullivan 7, Pacific 4

6-11    *Hannibal 13, Pacific 3

6-11    *Elsberry 6, Pacific 0

6-13    *St. Clair    PPD

6-16    *Sullivan 4, Pacific 3

6-23    *St. Charles 9, Pacific 6

6-27    *Wentzville    8 p.m.

6-30    *at St. Clair    8 p.m.

7-2    *at Union    10 a.m.

7-5    Ninth District Tny    TBA

* Ninth District Games

Pacific Post 402 Freshmen

6-2    *New Haven 14, Pacific 0

6-6    *Wentzville 17, Pacific 16

6-7    *Sullivan 15, Pacific 1

6-13    *Rosebud 22, Pacific 0

6-15    *Elsberry 17, Pacific 2

6-16    *Warrenton def. Pacific (forfeit)

6-18    *Washington 11, Pacific 0

6-18    *Washington 14, Pacific 0

6-21    *St. Charles 13, Pacific 1

6-23    *Union 22, Pacific 1

6-24    *at Hannibal    8 p.m.

6-26    *at St. Peters (DH)    12 p.m.

6-27    *St. Clair    6 p.m.

6-29    *at St. Clair    6 p.m.

7-1    Rosebud    7 p.m.

* Ninth District Games

St. Clair Post 347 Seniors

5-25    *St. Clair 10, West 6

5-31    *Washington 14, St. Clair 2

6-1    *St. Clair 6, Union 3

6-3    *O'Fallon 11, St. Clair 7

6-7    *St. Clair 15, Warrenton 8

6-10    *St. Clair 13, New Haven 11

6-11    *Washington 24, St. Clair 0

6-15    *St. Clair 9, Sullivan 3

6-16    *St. Clair 13, St. Peters 4

6-19    Warrenton 18, St. Clair 6

6-20    Sullivan 16, St. Clair 6

6-22    *Pacific 4, St. Clair 1

6-25    *Pacific    4 p.m.

6-26    *Elsberry    2 p.m.

6-27    *Union    6 p.m.

6-28    *at St. Charles    6 p.m.

* Ninth District Games

St. Clair Post 347 Juniors

6-1    *at Sullivan    7:30 p.m.

6-3    *Washington 14, St. Clair 1

6-5    *Union 9, St. Clair 8

6-7    *Warrenton 10, St. Clair 0

6-8    *New Haven 10, St. Clair 0

6-10    *O’Fallon    6 p.m.

6-12    *St. Clair 8, Wentzville 5

6-13    *at Pacific    PPD

6-15    *Union 7, St. Clair 1

6-16    *Wentzville 10, St. Clair 0

6-18    *Hannibal def. St. Clair twice

6-19    *Warrenton 6, St. Clair 5

6-23    *Sullivan    6 p.m.

6-26    *Elsberry    12 p.m.

6-28    *at St. Charles 8 p.m.

6-29    *Washington    8 p.m.

6-30    Pacific    8 p.m.

* Ninth District Games

St. Clair Post 347 Freshmen

5-23    *Rosebud 6, St. Clair 0

5-24    *St. Charles 10, St. Clair 0

5-31    *Washington 14, St. Clair 0

6-1    *Sullivan 5, St. Clair 1

6-4    *St. Clair 5, Washington 2

6-5    *St. Clair 10, Union 0

6-8    *St. Clair 6, New Haven 4

6-11    *St. Charles 14, St. Clair 2

6-12    *Wentzville 11, St. Clair 2

6-14    *Sullivan 15, St. Clair 13

6-15    *St. Clair 6, Rosebud 2

6-16    *St. Clair 9, St. Peters 7

6-18    *Elsberry 8, St. Clair 1

6-18     Elsberry 10, St. Clair 4

6-19    *Warrenton 5, St. Clair 0

6-23    *St. Clair 9, Wentzville 7

6-27    *at Pacific    6 p.m.

6-29    *Pacific    6 p.m.

6-30    *at Union    5:30 p.m.

* Ninth District Games

New Haven Post 366 Seniors

5-24    *New Haven 5, O'Fallon 3

5-28    *PPD at West

6-6    *New Haven 11, Union 7

6-10    *St. Clair 13, New Haven 11

6-11    *New Haven 10, West 1

6-15    #SEMO 16, New Haven 0

6-16    #Washington 11, New Haven 0

6-17    #Ballwin 12, New Haven 2

6-17    *New Haven 13, Sullivan 3

6-18    #Thoman Boothe 4, New Haven 0

6-19    *New Haven 9, St. Peters 1

6-21    *at Sullivan    8 p.m.

6-22    *at Washington    8:30 p.m.

6-25    *St. Peters    5 p.m.

6-26    *St. Charles    noon

6-27    *at Warrenton    5:30 p.m.

6-28    *Pacific    7 p.m.

6-29    *at Elsberry    8 p.m.

6-30    *Washington    7 p.m.

7-14    Ninth District Tny    TBA

# Washington Tournament

* Ninth District Games    

New Haven Post 366 Juniors

6-1    *New Haven 5, Pacific 1

6-4   New Haven 5, MODO 1

6-4   New Haven 9, Mattoon, Ill. #2 1

6-4   New Haven 5, Charlestown Red 0

6-7    *Wentzville 4, New Haven 2

6-8    *New Haven 10, St. Clair 0

6-12    *Elsberry 4, New Haven 3

6-15    *New Haven 7, Warrenton 2

6-16    *Union 11, New Haven 4

6-18    *St. Charles 8, New Haven 7

6-18    *St. Charles 6, New Haven 5

6-21    *New Haven 4, Sullivan 3

6-22    *Washington    PPD

6-26    *Hannibal (DH)    3 p.m.

6-29    *Sullivan (DH)    6 p.m.

7-5-11    Ninth District Tny    TBA

* Ninth District Games

Washington Swim Team

6-13    Lake Chesterfield 232, Washington 115

6-20    at Cool Dell    5:30 p.m.

6-27    Cedarmill    5:30 p.m.

7-11    at Lake Chesterfield    5:30 p.m.

7-16    Division Meet at Cedarmill    TBA

Pacific Swim Team

6-6    Pacific 194, Union 138

6-14    Pacific 302, Fox Creek 198

6-20    Pacific 302, Indian Hills 173

6-27    JCC    6 p.m.

7-5    at Oaks Landing    6 p.m.

7-9    Phelps Division Meet    7 a.m.

Union Swim Team

6-6    Pacific 194, Union 138

6-13    at Indian Hills, PPD

6-20    JCC 232, Union 229

6-27    Oaks Landing    6 p.m.    

7-5    at Fox Creek    6 p.m.

7-9    Division Meet at Pacific    7 a.m.

Pacific Dive Team

6-18    MAC 61, Pacific 20

6-25    at Lindgate    9 a.m.

6-30    Cool Dell    9 a.m.

7-17    at Cool Dell    noon

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