Missouri football defense struggles to contain Texas passing plays

Sunday, October 25, 2009 | 7:35 p.m. CDT
Texas wide receiver Jordan Shipley steps into the end zone after catching an 8-yard pass for a touchdown during the first quarter Saturday.

COLUMBIA – Problems that plagued the Missouri defense leading up to the Texas game resurfaced on the first play Saturday night.

Longhorn wide receiver Jordan Shipley took Colt McCoy's pass in open field and nearly broke away for a touchdown, stopped only by a shoestring tackle.

Shipley eventually scored on the drive, his first of two touchdown catches. Shipley's success was one example of big gains made by Texas receivers in an easy 41-7 win.

After the game, several players on Missouri's defense acknowledged the need for improvements.

"Lack of communication," cornerback Kevin Rutland said. "We're supposed to talk every play, and I guess those plays we didn't talk. Some guys running the wrong coverage or something like that. That's probably the biggest reason. I mean, we beat ourselves. They're a great team, we show no disrespect, but we had some blown coverages due to communication errors.

"Outside of communication, I can't really see another fault in our defense."

The Longhorns completed 26-of-34 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns, but Rutland said Texas didn't do anything unexpected.

In fact, at halftime Missouri hadn't seen anything that might have prompted adjustments.

"Usually we have something, and we'll write it on the board," he said. "That didn't happen at all tonight. So, it's on us."

One of Rutland's only encouragements was Missouri's ability to keep Texas out of the endzone the second half.

"Even though I'm pretty sure they slowed their offense down, they only scored, what, two field goals," he said. "After halftime, we didn't have any communication errors."

Linebacker Andrew Gachkar took a deep breath and hesitated when he was asked what needed to happen next.

"I don't know, I haven't seen errors like that since last year. So honestly I couldn't tell you," Gachkar said. "I think at points the crowd was so loud that people were just not hearing the same calls. Some people might have been running zone while some people were running the blitz. It was a mess sometimes."

When players were beat downfield by a receiver, help was slow to arrive.

"That was miscommunication error," Gachkar said. "That wasn't the corner's fault at all. I mean the miscommunication part was, but it wasn't physically his fault."

Cornerback Robert Steeples said Sunday's film study would help explain why Missouri defended the Texas passing game so poorly.

"I'm not too sure what happened," he said. "As players we didn't take care of our job. Right now, obviously, everybody's a little disappointed by what happened, but we're just going to go in Sunday and see what needs to be changed and just turn this season back around.

"We'll let it burn tonight, but come Sunday we'll be thinking about the (Colorado) Buffs."

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