Missouri Tigers quarterback Blaine Gabbert was feeling the pressure after his team had lost two consecutive games.
The Tigers' loss to the Nebraska Cornhuskers on the road wasn't considered an upset by many in the media, but the Texas Tech loss sent the Tigers reeling.
Gabbert had the worst game of his college career against Tech, finishing with only 95 yards passing as he continually missed his receivers and struggled to move the Tiger offense.
Gabbert appeared nervous while in the pocket and was frequently overthrowing his receivers during the Tigers' two-game skid.
Coach Pinkel could sense his quarterback was feeling the pressure and called Gabbert into his office before the Tigers' home game against Big 12 foe Kansas State.
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"I told him in the big stage, in the biggest stage of college football, against Oklahoma," Pinkel said, "you executed at the highest level. You are good. Don't ever doubt...you had a bad game (Texas Tech). Let's work and let's think about what we can do to make it better. Don't ever doubt how good you are."
Apparently, Gabbert listened and took the message to heart.
Gabbert was 17-of-25 for 208 yards passing, while adding another 89 yards on the ground. He appeared confident and in control of Missouri's offense throughout the entire game.
Gabbert's poise allowed Mizzou to defeat the mistake-prone Wildcats, 38-28.
"That meant a lot," Gabbert said of his conversation with his coach. "Losing two tough games like that, your confidence is a little shaken."
"I'm my harshest critic. The last two weeks have been inexcusable on my part."
I don't believe the Tigers' two losses are solely on Gabbert's shoulders. Gabbert wasn't assigned the task of tackling Nebraska running back Roy Helu Jr. during MU's loss to the Cornhuskers and he certainly wasn't the one dropping passes against the Red Raiders.
There are plenty of other Tigers who needed to step up against Kansas State on Mizzou's Senior Day, and thankfully they all did, allowing Missouri to beat K-State for the fifth straight time and to remain undefeated at home this season.
The 15th-ranked Tigers are now 8-2, and 4-2 in the Big 12 as they prepare for another Big 12 battle against the improved Iowa State Cyclones this Saturday in Ames.
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