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No. 14 Missouri defeats No. 22 Florida, 36-17

Saturday, 19 October 2013 19:44 Published in Sports

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — No James Franklin, no problem for Missouri.

Maty Mauk threw for 295 yards in his first career start and Andrew Baggett converted five field goals to help the No. 14 Tigers defeat No. 22 Florida 36-17 on Saturday and open a two-game lead in the Southeastern Conference East Division.

With Franklin watching on the sideline in street clothes, Mauk put any doubts to rest about whether he was ready on the first play of the game with a 41-yard pass to L'Damian Washington and then a 20-yard toss to Bud Sasser for a 7-0 lead just 22 seconds in.

Coach Gary Pinkel said Saturday was the toughest situation he's ever had to put in a quarterback, especially against a defense only allowing 235.3 yards per game. But the opening drive helped ease the stress on Mauk, who said he was determined to throw the ball downfield on the opening play.

"He looked like a seasoned veteran out there," Pinkel said.

Missouri (7-0, 3-0) outgained the Gators 500-151 and became the first conference opponent in 14 games to score at least 21 points against them. The Tigers bullied Florida (4-3, 3-2) at the line of scrimmage, sacking quarterback Tyler Murphy six times and flushing him out of the pocket throughout the game.

The Tigers knocked off their second consecutive ranked opponent for the first time since 1973 and will face No. 11 South Carolina next week at home. The Gamecocks lost at Tennessee 23-21 on Saturday.

"This team is resilient, coming back from where we were last year," Washington said. "I told Coach Pinkel, 'We've got to stop talking bowl games around here. Let's talk BCS, let's talk national championships.'"

Florida is off before facing Georgia on Nov. 2 in Jacksonville.

Mauk entered the game having only thrown six passes this season, but three of those came in the final quarter of a 41-26 win at Georgia last week after Franklin suffered a shoulder injury that will keep him out at least two more games. Mauk completed 18 of 36 passes Saturday, including three for 37 yards or more down the sideline.

The 6-foot, 200-pound redshirt freshman capped the scoring with 6:30 remaining on a 17-yard scramble, prompting the 67,124 in attendance to perform the "Gator Chomp."

"Backup quarterback?," center Evan Boehm asked. "Maty would be starting anywhere else."

Mauk also made a few ill-advised throws, as Brian Poole intercepted a pass with 3:34 left in the first half and almost had another in the same quarter but dropped it.

Murphy completed 15-of-29 passes for 92 yards and an interception for the Gators as he tried to escape Missouri's defensive line all game. Freshman Kelvin Taylor, son of former National Football League running back Fred Taylor, ran for 74 yards on 12 carries in his fifth career game.

Murphy thought he had time on some of his missed throws despite absorbing three sacks from SEC-leader Michael Sam and one apiece from Kony Ealy, Matt Hoch and Shane Ray.

"They did a good job covering, but we're got to find ways to make plays," Murphy said. "I have to find ways to get guys the ball."

The Gators only gained 61 yards in the first half — including nine rushing — but used six runs to drive 70 yards and pull within 23-17 with 46 seconds left in the third quarter. Missouri answered with a 33-yard field goal by Baggett following a 50-yard run by Henry Josey, who ran for 136 yards on 18 carries.

Baggett also converted from 19, 28, 39 and 43 yards to tie the school record in makes in a single game, as Missouri far exceeded the 13 points per game Florida allowed this season entering the matchup, the second-fewest in the SEC. In addition to Mauk's 295 passing yards, the Tigers added 205 on the ground and had 24 first downs.

"This is not a very good football team, and certainly not today," Gators' coach Will Muschamp said. "I am pretty disappointed that we have not made more positive strides offensively at this point of the season."

Florida earlier narrowed its deficit to three on a 100-yard kickoff return by receiver Solomon Patton on the first play of the second half, but the Tigers responded with a 75-yard drive finished by a 6-yard scamper by Josey for a 20-10 advantage.

Florida drove 22 yards to the Missouri 28-yard line with 58 seconds left in the second quarter on its longest drive of the first half before Ealy burst through the line and forced Murphy to fumble on a sack. Missouri recovered to squelch the threat and end the half up 13-3.

Cardinals rough up Kershaw, headed to World Series

Friday, 18 October 2013 23:18 Published in Sports

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Carlos Beltran, Michael Wacha and the St. Louis Cardinals are going to the World Series - not even Clayton Kershaw could stop them this year.

Beltran and the Cardinals stunned the Dodgers' ace with a four-run third inning, Wacha was again magnificent on the mound and St. Louis advanced to its second World Series in three seasons by roughing up the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-0 in Game 6 of the NL championship series Friday night.

Wacha, a rookie, was selected MVP of the series after throwing 13 2-3 scoreless innings and beating Kershaw twice in the NLCS.

Matt Carpenter sparked St. Louis' big third inning with a one-out double on the 11th pitch of his at-bat. Beltran singled him home and the Cardinals quickly removed all the suspense surrounding a team that squandered a 3-1 series lead in the NLCS last fall against San Francisco.

"I'm so happy right now. We did it as a team," Beltran said. "We fought hard, we worked hard all season long and thank god we're here."

Game 1 of the World Series is Wednesday at the winner of the ALCS between the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers. The Cardinals won their 19th NL pennant and will be trying for their third title since 2006, last winning in 2011.

The glamorous Dodgers, with the second-highest payroll in baseball at $220 million, failed to reach the World Series for the first time since winning it all in 1988.

After losing Game 5 in Los Angeles, the Cardinals turned to Wacha once again. The right-hander was even better in outpitching Kershaw for the second time this series.

It was 52 degrees at game time, a 23-degree drop from the Kershaw-Wacha matchup in Game 2 six days earlier, and Kershaw never warmed up.

The top NL CY Young Award candidate was knocked out of a start for the first time this season without finishing the fifth.

Beltran had three hits and drove in two runs while facing Kershaw and made a spectacular catch in right field, helping him advance to the World Series for the first time in his 16-year career.

Perhaps showing the Cardinals weren't stressed by the possibility of a second straight postseason meltdown, Games 1 and 5 starter Joe Kelly had a post-national anthem staredown against Dodgers reserve outfielder Scott Van Slyke that was broken up by a fed-up home plate umpire Greg Gibson after several minutes.

Kelly blinked first, all in good fun but, when it counted, St. Louis wouldn't budge.

The Cardinals jumped on Kershaw in the third, batting around. After Wacha grounded out, Carpenter doubled in a gritty at-bat. Beltran singled him home for the game's first run. With two outs, Yadier Molina added an RBI single, Shane Robinson drove in two runs with a single in his first career postseason start after replacing slumping Jon Jay - and advanced to second base on Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig's first of two errors in the Cardinals' big innings.

The Cuban defector also struck out twice and was booed heartily. Hanley Ramirez, a last-minute addition to the Dodgers' lineup, went 0 for 3 while playing with a broken rib.

Kershaw needed 48 pitches, the most pitches of his career in one inning, in the third. He took exception one pitch in particular, complaining to plate umpire Greg Gibson after Matt Adams' full-count walk loaded the bases.

The Dodgers bench also was vocal after the call on a pitch that may have been an inch or two low of the strike zone.

The Cardinals knocked Kershaw out in a five-run fifth. Adams doubled in a run to chase Kershaw. Wacha drove in one with a fielder's choice grounder and Carpenter had a sacrifice fly

Wacha has a minuscule 0.43 ERA in three postseason starts, one of the gems in Game 4 of the division series to keep the Cardinals alive. In his last regular season start and the NL Central up for grabs, he no-hit the Nationals for 8 2-3 innings.

"There's not anything you can't say about him," Kelly said of Wacha. "He's just going out there and pitching his butt off right now and as you can see he's just a pretty damn good pitcher."

Beltran was the star of the Cardinals' 3-2, 13-inning Game 1 victory, driving in all three runs plus making a throw to keep it tied in extra innings.

Kershaw was charged with seven runs on 10 hits in four-plus innings. The lefty led the majors in ERA the last three years but has lost five straight starts against St. Louis.

None of his starts this year were shorter than five innings and the most runs he allowed was five, on two occasions. The four-run fourth was his worst since July 24, 2012, at St. Louis, when Kershaw yielded eight runs in 5 2-3 innings.

The Dodgers didn't have much of a chance again Wacha.

Carl Crawford led off the game with an infield hit but was erased on Mark Elllis' double-play ball. A.J. Ellis doubled to start the sixth and didn't advance.

 

NOTES: Cardinals Hall of Fame SS Ozzie Smith threw the first pitch. ... Beltran has a .331 career postseason average.

Metro Transit gears up for NLCS Game 6

Friday, 18 October 2013 10:10 Published in Local News

Fans interested in avoiding the traffic jams before and after the National League Championship Series Game 6 tonight (and Game 7 if necessary tomorrow) are encouraged to take public transit.

Metro will have additional staffing to monitor MetroLink platforms and assist crowds and will provide extra service before and after the game.

Free Park-Ride lots are located next to many of the MetroLink stations in Illinois and Missouri making it convenient to take MetroLink to the Stadium Station or to another nearby station in downtown.

Fans who want to know which MetroLink Park-Ride lot is the closest to their home or work can check out www.metrostlouis.org to use the Trip Planner feature. 

 

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