Missouri’s defensive players might want to put a little stickem on their gloves before today’s Sun Bowl.
Players have dropped multiple interception opportunities earlier this season and against Oregon State they probably won’t get many chances.
Matt Moore, the Beaver’s senior quarterback, hasn’t thrown an interception in 161 attempts, which the longest active streak in the nation. The last interception he threw was with about six minutes left in the first half against Arizona, the team’s seventh game of the season, on Oct. 21. Oregon State won that game 17-10 and went on to win five of the six games where Moore didn’t throw an interception.
Moore is nonchalant about the streak. He said he doesn’t know how the streak happened and said it just kind of worked itself out, saying 10 other guys were helping him out.
“I’m not really worried about it,” Moore said. “I’ve come close to throwing a pick a couple of times, but it’s been dropped. So, I’ve been lucky, but I don’t really pay attention to it.”
Oregon State coach Mike Riley said the streak is a matter of diligence, hard work and learning the offense.
“It’s kind of a progression of quarterbacking in some regard,” Riley said. “Matt was always a willing worker and tremendously productive. He just needed to make a few different decisions.”
Riley said Moore is a microcosm of the team’s season and how they have transitioned from a 5-6 team last year to a 9-4 team going into the Sun Bowl.
“Matt had a very productive year a year ago, but threw a lot of interceptions,” Riley said. “We were not as consistent and then we had a lot of adversity, the quarterback gets a lot of that because of his position on the team.”
Moore had 19 interceptions last year, compared to six this season. He said he attributes some of his success to being more comfortable in Riley’s offense for a second year. Moore transferred to Oregon State after playing two years at UCLA.
“If I could just stay calm and deliver the ball where it needed to be, that’s what I needed to do, and it just kind of worked out. Everything started flowing four, five games into the season.”
The Beavers were 2-3 after the first five games, but went 7-1 to finish the season.
Missouri’s defense has one major advantage against Oregon State’s wide receivers that might help the Tigers intercept Moore — size.
“They have big, physical corners. I know that,” Moore said.
Also, Missouri plays a Cover 2 style of defense that the Beavers have seen just twice this season against UCLA and Southern California.