Not exactly what we expected in this one, either.
Any given Saturday, I suppose. Texas Tech had lost its past three games by an average of 42 points, but leads Missouri 17-10 at halftime.
Missouri coordinators Dave Steckel and David Yost filled in for Gary Pinkel in the pregame festivities in Columbia. Pinkel was suspended one week and given other financial penalties totaling more than $306,000 after being arrested on drunk driving charges on Wednesday night.
Donnie Carona booted a solid 48-yard field goal into a stiff wind in the final minute of the half to give the Red Raiders a 10-point lead. Missouri's Trey Barrow countered with a field goal of his own after a long return by Gahn McGaffie and a 36-yard completion to L'Damian Washington.
Time for a look at the first half in Columbia.
Turning point I: Kendial Lawrence broke a run up the middle, but was stripped by former receiver Cornelius Douglas just short of the goal line and fumbled into the end zone, preventing Missouri from tying the game. Douglas also scooped up a fumble and scored for Tech's only points last week.
Turning point II: Missouri running back De'Vion Moore, in for the injured Henry Josey, broke a 54-yard run down the right sideline to set up a 5-yard touchdown run from quarterback James Franklin that cut Texas Tech's lead to 14-7. Missouri's offense needed a spark and Moore provided it to get them back in the game. The 90-yard drive was Missouri's longest of the season.
Stat of the half: Texas Tech prevented Missouri from scoring on five consecutive possessions. That's the longest streak Texas Tech's put together all season.
Best player in the half: Scott Smith, DE, Texas Tech. He's been a constant disruption, making four tackles and getting two sacks, both coming on third down. He also tackled Franklin short of a first down on a third-down scramble. He's made the plays necessary to make that five-possession streak happen.
What Texas Tech needs to do: Don't change a thing. The offense has moved the ball consistently, and the defense put its best half of the season together against the Tigers. The Red Raiders will be without leading receiver Alex Torres, who suffered a knee injury in the first half, but Seth Doege has been solid, and the defense is making enough plays to stay in the lead. The Red Raiders are winning the field position battle, too, thanks to some solid special teams play.
What Missouri needs to do: Like I wrote earlier, keep this game on the ground and keep pounding. The defense has had trouble with Tech's offense, and keeping them off the field is the best option at this point. Missouri's had a lot of success running the ball, and there's not much reason to believe that won't continue.