Season report card: Missouri

It's time to grade Missouri's first season in the SEC:

OFFENSE: The Tigers entered their first season in the SEC with one of the nation's most balanced offenses in 2011, and with most of the personnel returning, the Tigers weren't expected to have too much drop-off in 2012. However, injuries crippled this team from the start. Freshman Evan Boehm was the only offensive lineman who made it through the entire season. With seven offensive linemen suffering some sort of injury during either preseason or the regular season, the line never had very good continuity. Quarterback James Franklin dealt with two separate shoulder injuries and a knee injury that pretty much kept him hobbled all season. The Tigers ranked 11th in the SEC in total offense (356.4 yards per game) and averaged just 4.9 yards per play. Mizzou averaged 20 yards less in SEC play and scored just under 22 points per game in conference play. The Tigers ranked 11th or worse in the SEC in total offense, rushing offense and scoring offense and were no higher than 77th (passing offense) nationally in any of the four major offensive categories. Franklin, who threw for 2,800 yards and ran for another 981 in 2011, threw for just 1,562 yards and 10 touchdowns, adding 122 rushing yards (1.4 yards per carry) and zero rushing touchdowns. Marcus Lucas was Mizzou's top receiving weapon, catching 46 passes for 509 yards and three touchdowns. Freshman Dorial Green-Beckham came on toward the end of the year and finished with 28 catches for 395 yards and a team-high five touchdowns. Running back Kendial Lawrence was Mizzou's best offensive weapon, as he ranked seventh in the SEC with 1,025 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. GRADE: D

DEFENSE: Missouri's defense also had its own issues in its new league. In conference play, the Tigers ranked 11th in scoring defense (33) and total defense (408.2), ninth in rushing defense (171.1) and passing defense (237.1). Mizzou also surrendered a league-high 22 rushing touchdowns. The Tigers allowed 30-plus points in six games, including the last three games of the year. The defense gave up 500-plus yards four times, including the last three games of the season. Mizzou forced 21 fumbles on the year and placed second in the SEC with 16 recoveries. While the defense as a whole struggled for the most part, there were some bright individual spots. Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson played himself into the first round of this year's NFL draft. He was one of the most disruptive defensive linemen in the SEC and tied for second on the team with 75 tackles (39 solo) and four sacks. He tied for first with 10.5 tackles for loss and led the Tigers with seven quarterback hurries. He also forced three fumbles. Cornerback E.J. Gaines was one of the top cover corners, defending 11 passes and recording a team-high 58 solo tackles. Grade: D

OVERALL: Injuries really, really hurt the Tigers, but there was never any real creativity from the offense after the Georgia game in Week 2, and the defense found itself on the field for far too long. You could tell the defense wore down toward the end of the season, as it was picked apart late in a critical loss to Syracuse -- a game the Tigers desperately needed to qualify for bowl season. The Tigers lost two SEC games by 20 and two more by 30, but they gutted out a four-overtime win over Tennessee in Knoxville to stay alive for a bowl berth before gagging at home to Syracuse and being destroyed by Texas A&M. Grade: D

Past grades: