Emotional game turns memorable for Tigers
November, 19, 2011
By David Ubben | ESPN.com
Missouri fought complex emotions before Saturday's game, facing a Senior Day without its head coach, Gary Pinkel, who was serving a one-week suspension after a drunk driving arrest earlier in the week.
An emotional day became one of the Tigers' most memorable, though, after both sides of the ball took turns winning the game, 31-27, for Mizzou against Texas Tech.
James Franklin carried the Tigers on a 10-play, 89-yard drive to take their first lead of the day. On the drive, he was 2-3 with a pair of completions to Marcus Lucas for 35 yards. He also ran five times for 39 yards, finished by the nine-yard touchdown run to put the Tigers ahead.
The defense allowed Texas Tech to reach the red zone before defensive end Michael Sam intercepted a Seth Doege pass tipped by defensive tackle Dominique Hamilton.
Just like that, Texas Tech's forgettable season takes another bruise and Missouri reaches bowl eligibility for the eighth consecutive season. Pinkel's perhaps the biggest reason for that streak, but on this day, he had to watch from home, though his wife, Vicki Pinkel, was in attendance.
Franklin accounted for 324 yards of offense (172 passing, 152 rushing) and four touchdowns (2 passing, 2 rushing) and keeps progressing as both a runner, a passer and a quarterback that knows when to be them.
Texas Tech has just one game left to reach a bowl of its own, a showdown with Baylor next week at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The year began with promise -- a 4-0 record and a top 25 ranking after upsetting Oklahoma -- but a solid performance on Saturday wasn't enough for the win.
This was no blowout like the Red Raiders endured the past three weeks, but it counts the same. For Texas Tech, it might be even more painful after leading for almost the entire game.
A 27-17 lead entering the fourth quarter turned to a 31-27 loss and a frustrated, quiet flight home with the season hinging on 60 minutes next Saturday.