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November 2, 2010
The Missouri Tigers became one of the last teams in college football to suffer a loss when they fell 31-17 to Nebraska on Saturday. On Monday, Mizzou talked about having to turn the page from that loss.
"Whether we win or lose a football game, I'm very consistent and I tell them exactly like it is," Pinkel said. "We go through film, we learn about it and then we get focused on the next football game. I've got to do a little bit better job of that this week than I did last week, obviously."
The leaders of this team insisted on Monday that the team had already moved on.
"I think so," captain Kevin Rutland said. "I think we all realize we have a lot of season left and we have a great season ahead of us. The opportunity we have this year to make something really special, I think we're gonna take advantage of it."
"You have to," said quarterback Blaine Gabbert. "We've got the 24-hour rule in this program no matter if you win or lose. We've just got to turn the page and focus on Texas Tech."
The Red Raiders come into this game 4-and-4, fighting just to become bowl eligible. Missouri, meanwhile, has bigger dreams in front of it. The Tigers are tied for the North division lead and still harbor hopes of playing in the last conference championship game. But they now know that simply winning games isn't enough. To claim the North's spot in that game, Mizzou will also need at least one more loss from Nebraska.
"That's out of our control right now," wide receiver Jerrell Jackson said. "We're just gonna try to win out the rest of this season and whatever happens, happens."
"It makes it a little bit tougher to deal with," Rutland admitted. "We know we can't control any other team in this conference. Only one we have control of is ourselves. We're gonna kind of focus on ourselves and keep it all internal."
The fan reaction to Blaine Gabbert's performance seemed split down the middle. Some thought he played well with little support; others seemed to think Gabbert was one of the Tigers' biggest problems. But there was no division amongst his teammates.
Despite taking a number of hits, including at least one that Pinkel turned in for review to the Big XII Conference, Gabbert kept getting up and didn't miss a snap.
"Tough guy. He's a tough guy," said left tackle Elvis Fisher. "I put some of that blame on us as an offensive line, especially myself, too. We didn't get our job done to protect him, so I feel bad about that. But he's a tough guy and he's a good buddy of mine. We'll be alright."
"A tough guy," echoed tailback De'Vion Moore. "It's not something new for me. I knew doing training with Blaine that he's a tough guy. He's gonna continue to play tough and continue to play hard. It just shows all the character in the world to be able to get hit hard and get right back up and go hard."
Gabbert came through Saturday's beating in fine health. In fact, the Tigers had no new injuries to report on Monday. But Luke Lambert will miss a third straight game with a knee injury and his replacement Will Ebner continues to play with a broken foot.
"He puts a boot on and he can't hurt it anymore. We're going to X-ray it and see if it's healing at all. Possibly it is," Pinkel said. "But he's just in a lot of pain when he walks."
That's all. In three conference games with the injury, Ebner has made five solo tackles and had ten assists, including 13 total stops in the last two games.
"If it isn't Will Ebner, he's probably not playing," Pinkel said. "He's got to deal with it. And he's mentally and physically a very, very tough kid. Physically, he is. We all see that on the football field. But mentally he is also."
The game against Tech will be nationally televised by ABC in its prime time slot at 7 p.m. Central. It is the second time in three weeks the Tigers have been the prime time game and the third straight week they have played on ABC.
The November 13th game against Kansas State has also been picked for television. The final home game of the year will be on Fox Sports Net at 11:30 a.m.
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