Mizzou wins again despite flaws

The Tigers came into the game averaging just over six penalties per contest.
Missouri Tigers wide receiver Bud Sasser (21) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown Saturday, Oct. 24, 2014 at Memorial Stadium at Faurot Field, in Columbia, Mo.

Gary Pinkel wanted to talk about Bear Bryant.

When Pinkel made his way into the press room following Missouri’s 24-14 win over Vanderbilt, he brought up the legendary Alabama coach.

Pinkel said he remembers watching Bryant give a speech once. Bryant said that “every win is a great win.”

“I’ve always remembered that,” Pinkel said.

A win is a win is a win, even if it is against the Southeastern Conference’s last-place team. And even if Mizzou committed 14 penalties in the process.

In each of its SEC wins — against South Carolina, Florida and Vanderbilt — Mizzou has won despite some glaring oddities.

The Tiger offense was practically nonexistent against South Carolina before coming alive late. Mizzou’s defense scored more points than the Tiger offense against Florida when sophomore quarterback Maty Mauk threw for just 20 yards. Missouri incurred 100 penalty yards against the Commodores.

“We’re overcoming the mistakes that we make, and that shows the ceiling is pretty high for this team,” said senior wide receiver Bud Sasser, who caught two touchdowns on the day. “And when you start to cut those down and you start to limit your mistakes throughout the game, we could really put up some points on this offense.”

The Tigers, like Bryant, said they’ll take the victories any way they can get them, that winning in the SEC is difficult.

Still, Mauk said he'd like to see fewer yellow flags next week against Kentucky.

“That was really frustrating, honestly,” Mauk said. “All week, we talked about (how) we didn’t want any delay of games. We didn’t get that. It hurt us. It killed some drives.”

The infractions varied. There was the late hit called on junior linebacker Clarence Green. There was the heavily disputed targeting call against redshirt freshman defensive back Anthony Sherrils on a Mizzou punt.

Most common, though, were false starts and offside calls. Officials called junior offensive guard Taylor Chappell for a pair of false starts, and junior defensive end Shane Ray was caught offsides twice.

“You’re supposed to be happy about a win,” Ray said. “I’m happy about it. But we can play better.”

Mizzou came into the game averaging just over six penalties per game for 50.3 yards.

Pinkel took the blame for the issues and said he “didn’t do a very good job coaching.”

“If you have a better way of helping me, just let me know, man,” Pinkel said. “Email me.”

Pinkel later took back that request. Instead, perhaps, he’d rather savor the “great win.”

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