Missouri notebook

Tigers cornerback Randy Ponder kicked out after targeting penalty

Updated: 2013-09-29T05:32:17Z


The Kansas City Star

For the second time in three games, Missouri lost a defensive starter to a targeting penalty.

Arkansas State, which led 3-0 midway through the first quarter, was approaching midfield when Tigers senior cornerback Randy Ponder stuck wide receiver J.D. McKissic for a 4-yard gain.

Replays showed it was a form, heads-up tackle, but Ponder’s face mask may have struck McKissic’s helmet. The play was reviewed and upheld.

“We’ve got to aim low,” Tigers coach Gary Pinkel said. “We’ve just have to do it.”

Missouri was penalized 15 yards and Ponder was ejected for the remainder of the game.

Against Toledo three weeks earlier, linebacker Andrew Wilson was ejected under the new targeting rule. He missed the first half against Indiana, because his penalty occurred after halftime.

Ponder will be eligible to return for the start of Missouri’s SEC opener at Vanderbilt on Saturday in Nashville, Tenn., because the infraction took place before halftime.

“He had a good hit on the guy, it was just too high, and you cannot do that,” Pinkel said.

• MU senior linebacker Andrew Wilson set a new career-high with 17 tackles.

Wilson, a Raymore-Peculiar graduate, made several key stops in short-yardage situations and was a bright spot for a defense that allowed nearly 300 yards in the first half.

• Senior cornerback E.J. Gaines, a Fort Osage graduate, picked off his third pass of the season, intercepting Adam Kennedy with 4:21 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Not only did it ice the victory, but it extended the Tigers’ streak of consecutive games with a turnover to 34 in a row, which is longest streak in the nation.

• The victory was the 94th for Gary Pinkel as MU coach, moving him past Dan Devine for second on the all-time list. Don Faurot is first on the list with 101 wins.

• Redshirt sophomore wide receiver J.D. McKissic set a new Arkansas State record with 15 receptions.

McKissic, whose elusiveness created havoc all night for the Missouri defense, finished with 107 receiving yards and also added four carries for 36 yards.

Meanwhile, quarterback Adam Kennedy tied a program record with 37 completions.

| Tod Palmer, tpalmer@kcstar.com

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