Posted: Sep 2, 2013 3:24 PM by Chris Lilly, KOMU 8 Sports Reporter
Updated: Sep 3, 2013 8:07 AM
COLUMBIA - After the Missouri Tiger's first football game, there's one name coaches, players, and fans are bringing up again and again.
Russell Hansbrough and the number 32 are two things Mizzou football fans should keep an eye on. Hansbrough had a successful first game of the season for the Tigers Saturday. He had 8 carries for 104 yards and two touchdowns.
Hansbrough's and teammate Henry Josey's successes on the ground in week one helped the Tigers beat the Murray State Racers 58-14.
After week one, Mizzou had more rushing yards than any other team in the SEC. Collectively the Tiger running backs rushed for 358 total yards.
The 358 yards Mizzou ran for against Murray State puts the team in a better place than Mizzou was in 2012. Out of the 14 teams in the conference, Mizzou ranked second to last in rushing, with an average of 118.7 yards per game in 2012.
The Missouri coaching staff realizes those low numbers need to change.
Missouri Head Football Coach Gary Pinkel said, "We got a lot of guys on offense that can make plays. More than what we have had in some while and it's all about making plays too, you don't win games just because you have a nice team and are all rah, rah, rah, team, team, team. You got to have guys go out and make plays."
Pinkel was already talking about Russell Hansbrough in practices before the season started, and recognized him as a play maker. Pinkel said, "Russell Hansbrough looks really outstanding, and we're very fortunate to have guys like that."
Pinkel was not the only one who was happy for Hansbrough. Teammate Henry Josey was excited about his performance and saw something familiar in his teammate.
Josey said, "I was loving it man, seeing him plow over people and running fast. I was like that looks like me a long time ago. I was just really excited for him, I was really happy for him. We have a great tandem with me and him, and it's going to be crazy the rest of the year."
Missouri plays Toledo Saturday, September 7.