Mizzou fans (myself included) can overreact at times.  Some always point out the negatives, others are hopelessly optimistic.  In week three of our series, The Optimist vs. The Pessimist, I make the argument of both sides about the weekend's game.


Blaine Gabbert and the Tigers certainly didn't run away from San Diego State on Saturday (Photo by L.G. Patterson/AP photo).

The optimist says...

1.  At least Mizzou won

Over the years we've witnessed many stunning upsets and teams losing games in ways that didn't seem possible at Faurot Field.  The only problem was, the team getting screwed over was usually the home team.  On Saturday it was Mizzou that delivered the gut-wrenching final score, rather than give it up.  Nice to experience the other side of that emotion once in a while.

2.  The defense looked solid

Sure, Ronnie Hillman made the D look silly a couple of times, but outside of those two mistakes, the defense was solid.  Rutland's endzone interception, holding the Aztecs to a late field goal rather than a TD, and that final stop are signs this defense is improved over past years.  "[The defense] gave us a chance," Gary Pinkel said Monday.

3.  Now we can say we have two receivers, not just one

Blaine doesn't just force the ball to one receiver anymore.  Now he forces it to two!  Michael Egnew emerged with a big game that was overshadowed in the wake of Moe's late heroics.  Egnew had 13 catches for 145 yards on Saturday.  His 29 receptions are good enough to put him fourth in the nation in catches.

4.  Comeback Cats

So what if the Tigers aren't blowing everybody out?  With Chase Daniel at the helm, Missouri won one game when trailing in the second half.  Under Blaine Gabbert, the Tigers have overcome five second half deficits.

The pessimist says...

1.  Gabbert and receivers didn't look so good

Had Gabbert and the receiving corps not been sleep-walking through much of the game, this one wouldn't have been so close.  Early on, there were several drops that killed Missouri drives.  In the second half, Gabbert just looked off.  The first interception was forced to TJ Moe who was absolutely blanketed by the defender.  The second pick was a pass that should never have been thrown.  That offensive performance won't beat many teams in the Big 12.

2.  Can't ignore defensive mistakes

A lot of people are just writing off Hillman's 75 and 93 yard touchdown runs.  Of course it's easy to say the D looked good when you take away two monstrous plays that they gave up.  I mean, take away Mizzou's two best offensive plays and San Diego State would have won the game.  But they didn't.  The reality is the Mizzou D did give up those plays.  Each time, poor tackling led to scores.  That's not something you just give the defense a free pass on.

3.  Horrible crowd

MU's Memorial Stadium looked more like kU's on Saturday night.  A combination of bad weather and bad football led to thousands of fans heading for the exits early.  Many even left at half.  In addition, the place sounded more like a library than a football stadium.  Did anyone else notice Aldon Smith's desperate plea for some crowd noise late in the fourth quarter?  He was practically begging the alumni side to get up and be loud and when they didn't, Aldon simply started shaking his head.

4.  Lost Aldon Smith

Speaking of Aldon... (Like that segway?) he's hurt now.  Not only did Mizzou not play well, but it also lost its best player for at least a game.  Sure, the injury may not be serious and granted, Mizzou should still beat Miami (Ohio) without him, but still.  "Aldon Smith" and "broken leg," are not words I like to see in the same headline.

5.  It was San Diego State

Tell me this team is improved, tell me they're well coached, blah blah blah.  The fact is, this is a team that wasn't even picked to finish near the top of the Mountain West Conference.  They might be a respectable opponent, but if Mizzou is that competitive with the Aztecs I don't want to think about what will happen when the Sooners come to town.

6.  Abandoned run game

Once again the Missouri running attack is the odd man out.  Gary Pinkel reinforced today that bubble screens are considered runs in the Missouri offense.  Even if that's true, it's frustrating how few times Missouri handed the ball off in the second half.  Missouri ran 23 offensive plays in the fourth quarter.  Three of them were handoffs (one of which was fumbled).  The Tigers were never down by so much that needed to pass on every down.  The lack of a commitment to the running game is growing frustrating.