Missouri got a huge boost to its national title hopes when Auburn took down Alabama on Saturday afternoon. After that, the Tigers simply need to win out and have Ohio State or Florida State lose one of their respective conference title games.
But first, the Tigers had a difficult task at hand over the weekend, facing Johnny Manziel and the hungry Texas A&M Aggies. Missouri was able to take care of business, breaking the tie with less than four minutes to play to take home the SEC East crown.
Rock M Nation could not be happier with defensive coordinator Dave Steckel, who coached a phenomenal game and stopped the dominant Aggie offense.
After the opening few series, Texas A&M lost interest in Manziel on designed runs. Missouri held Manziel to his lowest yardage total since playing only one half vs. Rice in 2012 (according to the twitterverse). The Tigers forced so many negative plays and short gains ... yet still gave up 21 points, including a touchdown on a 98-yard drive. That's how good A&M is. The defense forced Manziel to take checkdown throws all night. That's exactly what you want to do. The A&M skill position players found the open spot and/or broke enough tackles to keep the defense on its heels. That's why the Aggies field one of the best offenses in the nation. Even when you think you got 'em you don't got 'em.
It was a different kind of game for the Aggies, who let their defense keep them in the contest. Good Bull Hunting was again frustrated by the offensive play-calling, however, and has lost some confidence in the coaching staff.
I have zero ... absolutely zero faith in our play calling. None whatsoever. All season long we have not proven that we have the ability to effectively utilize the many weapons we have. The entire year has been Johnny playing street football, and that's on the coaches. For two weeks straight now the offense has let us down...mainly in the area of playcalling. No confidence whatsoever. There hasn't been a single game where I thought we had a solid gameplan from our coordinators.
Brandon Larrabee at Team Speed Kills says the result should put to rest any questions about the Tigers' status as a legitimate SEC school.
That argument should pretty much be gone by now. With a 28-21 win against Texas A&M in which Manziel was pretty much contained and Missouri's offensive stars put together a highlight reel, the Tigers won their first SEC East title and became the SEC expansion team to make it to Atlanta in the shortest amount of time in the league. It took Arkansas until its fourth season in the conference and South Carolina until its 19th to win a division. Ole Miss, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and (of course) Texas A&M still haven't made it to the Georgia Dome so far. Yes, Missouri belongs.
The game was a close one, with the Aggies taking a 14-7 lead into halftime on touchdowns from Tra Carson and Manziel (to Derel Walker), but Missouri responded with two third-quarter touchdowns to take the lead. A&M tied it up on a fourth-quarter touchdown run, but with just over three minutes left to play, Henry Josey took the ball 57 yards for the winning score.