Monday, December 17, 2012
Best/worst in 2012: Missouri
By Chris Low
We continue to look at the best moments and worst moments for all 14 SEC teams, and next up is Missouri:
Missouri had to wait until November to get its first-ever SEC road win, but the wait was worth it. The Tigers rallied from a 14-point deficit in the second half at Neyland Stadium to edge Tennessee 51-48 in four overtimes in one of the league's wildest games of the year. At the time, the Tigers were desperate for any win having lost three of their last four games. It was also a big win in terms of keeping alive their bowl hopes, although those hopes were shattered over the next two weeks. Quarterback James Franklin, who was coming off a four-interception performance the week earlier in a loss at Florida, bounced back like a champ against the Vols and made one clutch play after another down the stretch. He finished with four touchdown passes, including a scrambling 25-yard scoring toss to Dorial Green-Beckham on fourth down that sent the game into overtime. He also threw touchdown passes in each of the first three overtime periods, and Andrew Baggett won it for the Tigers with a 35-yard field goal in the fourth overtime.
The renewed feeling of confidence from the road win at Tennessee didn't last very long. The very next week, Missouri had a chance to secure its eighth straight bowl appearance, but blew a two-touchdown lead in the second quarter and lost 31-27 at home to Syracuse. The loss ended Missouri's 18-game winning streak against nonconference opponents, and coupled with the loss the next week at Texas A&M, ensured that the Tigers would stay home for the postseason. Missouri was playing without star defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who was suspended for the game, and Franklin was knocked out of the game with an injury in the fourth quarter. The Tigers had no answers in the fourth quarter for the Orange, who scored 21 points in the final 14:14 of the game, including the game-winning touchdown with 20 seconds to play.