COLUMBIA — One week ago, the Missouri Tigers were on track for an 8-0 record. They led the South Carolina Gamecocks by 17 points in the second half only to quickly see that lead disappear at the hands of Gamecock quarterback Connor Shaw.
Then, kicker Andrew Baggett missed a 24-yard field goal in double overtime, and the Tigers were suddenly staring at a loss.
The first loss of the season has left many asking how the team will bounce back this week against the Tennessee Volunteers.
Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that Missouri can't get distracted as it heads into the easier part of its Southeastern Conference schedule.
"These are the sort of games that can sink distracted teams that allow one disappointing loss to blossom into a season-wrecking losing slump."
The Tigers have been trying this week to put the loss behind them and keep their eye on the Southeastern Conference East division title, writes Tod Palmer of The Kansas City Star.
Missouri, after all, still has a lot to play for, ESPN's Edward Aschoff writes.
Pinkel says team should be as "fired-up" as any team in America with so much to play for. "It's all out there."— Vahe Gregorian (@vgregorian) October 28, 2013
Baggett's missed field goal ended up bringing quite a bit of criticism on him, especially through social media. But Baggett hasn't let the negative comments get to him, Sean Keeler of Fox Sports Midwest writes.
Baggett, however, said he received far more supportive messages after the game, Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes.
His missed field goal — and the Gamecocks' comeback — can be seen in the video below.
Head coach Gary Pinkel and the rest of the team came to Baggett's aide this week as well, saying it wasn't his missed kick that lost the game, Aschoff writes.
Mark Schlabach of ESPN also addresses Baggett's kick and asks where Missouri goes next.
Mizzou PK Andrew Baggett on Twitter backlash: "Nobody’s comment will ever make me feel worse than I did on that field."— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) October 29, 2013
Along with Missouri having to rely on its backup quarterback Maty Mauk again this week, Tennessee will also be without its starting quarterback while junior Justin Worley is out indefinitely with an injured thumb. The Volunteers will start freshman Josh Dobbs against the Tigers on Saturday.
Mauk is still expected to start Saturday, despite senior James Franklin being upgraded to questionable earlier this week. Pinkel said this week that Franklin will play when he's ready, writes Matter.
While Mauk has still been working on his accuracy, he has still been able to help the Tigers make big plays in the past few weeks, as seen below.
(Video: Mizzou Network)
Trevor Matich of ESPN also took time this week to discuss Mauk's play and how it has affected the Tigers.
Apart from the quarterback position, Missouri's defensive line play continues to receive praise from around the country. Tennessee coach Butch Jones said Michael Sam is as good of a player as they've faced this year, Alexander Smith of the Missourian writes.
Tennessee quarterback Josh Dobbs passes against Alabama on Oct. 26 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (PHOTO: MICHAEL PATRICK/The Associated Press)
Tennessee is 4-4 (1-3 SEC) and will be coming off a 45-10 loss against Alabama last week. The Volunteers however did score a marquee 23-21 victory when they beat South Carolina earlier this season.
The offensive line has faced many strong defenses this season, and they know they have to be ready for Missouri's defense on Saturday, Patrick Brown of the Chattanooga Times Free Press writes.
The Volunteers will also be trying to get another win Saturday to increase their bowl game hopes as the season winds down, Brown writes. The Volunteers haven't made a bowl game the past two seasons.
Butch: 'In order to be a good road team, you have to get the first one.' Tennessee beaten by 45, 14 and 35 away from Neyland this year.— Patrick Brown (@patrickbrownTFP) October 28, 2013
Tennessee will have to rely heavily on on its freshman quarterback Josh Dobbs on Saturday. That's something Dobbs says he is ready for after being put in the game during the second half against Alabama, Brown writes.
Supervising editor is Frank Russell.