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MU’s offense really picks up the pace

Updated: 2013-09-03T04:23:17Z

By TEREZ A. PAYLOR

The Kansas City Star

— Much was made about Missouri’s desire to speed up its offensive tempo entering the season, and the Tigers showed why in their 58-14 win over Murray State on Saturday.

After falling behind 14-13 to open the second quarter, Missouri’s offense looked practically unstoppable, ripping off 45 unanswered points and finishing with 694 yards, the second-most in program history.

All this was largely a byproduct of Missouri’s suddenly speedy attack, which allowed the Tigers to rack up 87 plays, more than they ran in all but one game last season.

“The tempo thing worked well in the first half,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. “After that, we kind of backed off it. We’re trying to really make that a part of who we were.”

Offensive coordinator Josh Henson credited quarterback James Franklin for that. Franklin was sharp against the Racers, completing 26 of 38 passes for 318 yards and three touchdowns. He chalked up a few of his mistakes to it being the first game of the season.

“He would like to have a couple back, I know that,” Henson said. “But ... you’re coming into a game where we really didn’t know defensively what they were going to do. So we’re getting out there, and he’s seeing it and doing it for the first time. It’s not like we were like ‘OK, they play these coverages in these situations and here’s how we’re going to game-plan for it.’ So from that aspect, I thought he did an excellent job of delivering the ball to the right places.”

Franklin said he felt comfortable in the Tigers’ uptempo attack, but added that they didn’t even run most of the plays they installed this preseason.

“Honestly, of all the plays we put in during two-a-days, (we ran) maybe 20-30 percent (of them),” Franklin said.

From here on out, however, Pinkel would like to see the Tigers’ aerial attack continue to make strides.

“Overall, we really played catch well, where Mizzou is not stopping Mizzou,” Pinkel said. “That’s never-ending, trying to get better and better at that.”

• All looks good on the injury front, and that includes sophomore receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, who bruised his hand Saturday.

“Fortunately right now, we’re injury free for the most part,” Pinkel said.

• The only change on Missouri’s new depth chart, which was released Monday, comes at tight end, where there is now an “or” listed between redshirt freshman starter Sean Culkin and senior Eric Waters.

To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to tpaylor@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/TerezPaylor.

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