BWW Citrus: Mizzou run game outlasts Minn 33-17

Orlando – When Missouri last took the field in the regular season, the Tigers struggled with passing against a stingy defense in Razorbacks. Facing the Golden Gophers of Minnesota, Mizzou struggled to pass and went back to basics in the 4th frame. A tired defense, coupled with big runs netted two TDs and a victory.

Bud Sasser catches his second TD of the day in the 4th Quarter. Photo: Shine Rankin Jr./SGSN

Bud Sasser catches his second TD of the day in the 4th Quarter. Photo: Shine Rankin Jr./SGSN

Ahead 19-17 entering the final frame, Minnesota’s drive stalled forcing a punt. On the first play from scrimmage, Junior running back Russell Hansbrough scampered for a 78-yard TD. Hansbrough had been handcuffed for much of the contest until that point.

After another Minnesota drive into the Mizzou territory, Tigers defenders were able to push back, forcing a punt on 4th and 17. With 7:00 minutes and change to play, the punt rolled into the end zone and the Tiger o started again from the 25-yard line. Enter in Marcus Murphy. Marcus had been tightly covered as the primary kick and punt returner by the Golden Gophers.  His one big play in the second half was a 87-yard return negated by two different Tiger penalties on the same play. But he would not be denied in the 4th. Murphy would start a short run off tackle, and instead go 69 yards, setting up a short throw from Mauk to Bud Sasser for the go-ahead score.

A paper Tiger early, Matty Mauk threw two interception on the first two possessions of the game. Mauk was good for just 97 yards through the air. Missouri pounded the ground in the second half, accruing 340 yards on the game. Murphy finished with 157 on 12 carries, while Hansbrough netted 114 on 15 carries.

Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel seemed to deviate from his normal attack mode, being gutsy on special teams as he called a fake punt that converted for a first down in the first half. The Tigers had to settle for a Field goal.  He also called an onside kick to start the second half, which Missouri recovered.

Pinkel’s Tigers are now 27-12 since joining the SEC, having won the East twice. They finish the year at 11-3 while the Golden Gophers drop to 8-5.


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