Tigers not forcing turnovers like they used to

Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune

COLUMBIA — Mary Beth Steckel has been spending a little less time in the kitchen lately.

Steckel, the wife of Missouri defensive coordinator Dave Steckel, makes Missouri players a plate of brownies when they force a turnover.

After a nation-best 47 consecutive games with a takeaway, the Tigers’ defense has now gone three straight games without.

“It’s kind of like karma coming back at us,” linebacker Michael Scherer said. “I think we went from having the most consecutive games with turnovers to now having the most consecutive games without turnovers. So we kind of flip-flopped there, but we’ll get back on track. It’s just a matter of time.”

It looked like the Tigers would be on their way to starting a new streak Saturday in their 34-0 loss to Georgia. The Bulldogs fumbled on the first punt from Missouri’s Christian Brinser, and Aarion Penton forced a fumble after Chris Conley made an 8-yard reception on Georgia’s first drive.

Georgia fell on both, however.

“The ball was on the ground (Saturday),” defensive end Markus Golden said. “We just didn’t get it. … We’ve just got to get after the ball. We’ve just got to get back to the Mizzou way, and that’s getting takeaways.”

Later, Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason fumbled but it came a second too late, as he had just crossed the goal line for the Bulldogs’ first touchdown.

“Just the fact that those opportunities are coming is good,” linebacker Kentrell Brothers said, “but the fact that we’re not getting them is hurting us.”

Missouri’s consecutive turnover streak ended in a loss to Indiana. The Tigers also failed to force a takeaway in a win at South Carolina. Missouri’s three-game streak without a turnover is its longest since October 2001, when the Tigers went 1-2 during a three-game streak.

The Tigers began this season with a plus-six turnover margin in their first three games but have been minus-six in their last three. The even turnover margin is tied for 63rd in the country.

Missouri’s most recent takeaway came Sept. 13 against Central Florida. With 13 seconds remaining, Duron Singleton scooped up a fumble and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown.

The Tigers’ lack of takeaways was compounded Saturday when the Missouri offense gave the ball away five times.

“We always tell our defense if by some chance the offense is going to turn it over two times, we’ve got to match it with two,” coach Gary Pinkel said. “We’ve got to do it. So then nobody gets a bonus on those turnovers. It was extreme both ways. We haven’t had any takeaways and we have five turnovers.”

III

Missouri announced Monday its Oct. 25 Homecoming game against Vanderbilt will begin at 3 p.m, and the game will be televised on the SEC Network.

The Commodores are 2-5 on the season and have a bye this weekend. Missouri plays Saturday at Florida.

Original: http://www.newstribune.com/news/2014/oct/15/tigers-not-forcing-turnovers-they-used/

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