Tiger defense, special teams tops national and conference lists

Tiger defense, special teams tops national and conference lists

Credit: UPI

Missouri Tigers head coach Gary Pinkel leads his team onto the field for a game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri on September 8, 2012. This game marks the first for Missouri as a member of the SEC Conference. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

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by JJ Bailey / Missouri Football App

KMOV.com

Posted on October 1, 2012 at 8:47 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 2 at 12:15 PM

(Missouri Football App) – Missouri may be struggling to move the ball, but they certainly aren’t having any trouble getting it back. The Tiger defense, despite a rough-looking record, is topping national and conference standings in multiple categories.

To begin, their nine recovered fumbles so far this season is tied for most in the nation. No one else from the SEC is in the top ten. The Tigers also have a streak of 23 straight games with a defensive takeaway.

Individually, Mizzou continues to impress. No one player has stood out quite as much as Sheldon Richardson, however.

Through five games, Richardson has 33 tackles. He has 25 in the last three games, including two sacks, for tackles for a loss, a forced fumble and a recovered fumble.

He’s a defensive tackle and he has cracked the top-25 for tackles in the SEC. That’s a man who is making a statement, never mind the fact that he leads all SEC linemen.

The big man had nine tackles in Saturday’s contest in Orlando, and gobbled up the ball on Gaines’ forced fumble to seal the game.

Speaking of Gaines, with his performance against UCF, he now has five tackles for a loss on the season. That is the most in the SEC at his position.  He also has five passes defended, putting him 7th in the SEC.

While making an impact in the SEC is impressive, Marcus Murphy isn’t content with keeping it in conference. The sophomore is leading the country in punt return TDs. His third quarter return on Saturday put him in sole possession of the national lead and the Mizzou single season record.

He also is one return TD away from owning the career record, which he currently shares with Jeremy Maclin.

 

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