After Mizzou’s thrilling 28-21 victory over Texas A&M, Mizzou Network’s Ben Arnet caught up with Head Coach Gary Pinkel to talk about the game that clinched Mizzou’s first SEC East title.
“I’m really proud of our team,” Pinkel said. “It wasn’t easy. It was a battle, but what a great second half we played in real adverse conditions. The defense holds those guys to 21 points—are you kidding me? On offense we scored 21 points in the second half, and we certainly worked really well together in the fourth quarter.”
And there was no better player to put the exclamation point on the second half than Henry Josey. Less than two years after tearing his ACL, MCL and patellar tendon in his left knee, Josey broke off a 57-yard touchdown run on third and one with 3:30 left in the game. His touchdown proved to be the game winner.
“That really ignited our team,” Pinkel said. “The stadium was awesome all day, but it went up to a championship level after that play.”
But of course, Josey and Mizzou would have never been in a position to win the game if it weren’t for the defense, which held reigning Heisman winner Johnny Manziel to his lowest yardage output in his career as starter.
“We were relentless,” Pinkel said. “Obviously we were playing some good coverage. We worked together in trying to get him out and throw the ball away.”
And then there’s the senior class, a group of guys that Pinkel said he will talk about “forever and ever.” The seniors, including James Franklin, L’Damian Washington, Marcus Lucas, Michael Sam and Max Copeland to name a few, knew they were better than their 5-7 record a year ago, and now they get to carry pieces of the rock M all the way to Atlanta as proof.
Winning the SEC East title is big, but it’s just the beginning. Pinkel and Mizzou are hungry for more.
Said Pinkel: “We get to enjoy this for about 12 hours, and then get ready, because it gets bigger.”