Sep 24, 2022; Auburn, Alabama, USA;  Auburn Tigers linebacker Derick Hall (29) returns an interception as Missouri Tigers offensive lineman Javon Foster (76) goes for the tackle during the first quarter at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn survives Missouri in overtime win

Anders Carlson kicked a 39-yard field goal and the Auburn defense recovered a fumble in the end zone as the Tigers opened Southeastern Conference play with a 17-14 overtime win over Missouri in Auburn, Ala. Saturday afternoon.

Carlson connected after missing from 44 yards when Missouri jumped offside. Then Missouri’s Nathaniel Peat headed for the end zone, fumbled at the 1 and it was recovered by Auburn’s Cayden Bridges.

The play was ruled a touchback, reviewed and Auburn was awarded the win.

With quarterback T.J. Finley (shoulder) sidelined, dual-threat freshman Robby Ashford got his first career start and rushed for 46 yards and a score for Auburn (3-1, 1-0). He was 12 of 18 for 127 yards.

Tank Bigsby had 44 rushing yards and a score, and Koy Moore caught four passes for 74 yards.

For Missouri (2-2, 0-1), quarterback Brady Cook was 14-for-24 for 179 yards with an interception.

Peat rushed for 110 yards on 20 carries. Dominic Lovett caught five passes for 102 yards.

The matchup was the first one for Missouri at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium since joining the SEC in 2012.

On its first series, Auburn gambled successfully on two fourth-down conversions to keep the drive alive. Following the second one, Ashford found the end zone on an 11-yard quarterback draw for a 7-0 lead at 6:01.

Derick Hall’s grab of a deflected Cook pass — Auburn’s first interception of 2022 — set up Bigsby’s three-yard TD run after the Ashford-led offense ran on its first 16 snaps of the fourth meeting between the schools.

Transfer Cody Schrader, who led Division II with 2,074 rushing yards last season at Truman State, took an option pitch nine yards to get Missouri on the board in the second quarter.

On fourth down, Cook tied it at 14 in the half’s last minute with a sneak.

Carlson had two chances for Auburn on the half’s last play — from 50 (offsides) and 45 yards — but was wide on both attempts.

Missouri’s Harrison Mevis missed a game-winning 26-yard field goal as time expired in regulation.

–Field Level Media

Sep 17, 2022; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers head coach Eliah Drinkwitz talks with wide receiver Dominic Lovett (7) during the second half against the Abilene Christian Wildcats at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Similar storylines for Auburn, Missouri entering SEC opener

More than just the name of their mascots, host Auburn and visiting Missouri have a lot in-common as they clash in the Southeastern Conference opener for both schools Saturday.

Both teams finished 3-5 in SEC play last season, and both teams started 2-1 this season.

Also, both teams have suffered lopsided losses this season: Auburn fell 41-12 at home to Penn State while Missouri lost 40-12 at Kansas State.

So, this game at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala. is critical to the fortunes of both teams.

And there is this: Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz worked under Auburn coach Bryan Harsin at Arkansas State and Boise State, and considers him a mentor.

“You know Coach Harsin gave me an opportunity and believed in me when not very many other people did and really kept me in college football in 2013,” Drinkwitz said Tuesday. “And so, I’m very appreciative to him for that and will always be indebted to him.”

Auburn’s offensive line suffered multiple breakdowns against the Nittany Lions last Saturday while allowing six sacks and nine quarterback hurries.

“We didn’t play up to our standard to what I thought we were capable of doing,” Harsin said Monday. “Some of that was us, some of that was Penn State. Sometimes you get in a one-on-one match-up and you just get whooped. That is fundamental correction you have to make. We’ll let the guys compete on the O-line to get the best five out there.”

The quarterback position also remains a competition. T. J. Finley completed 11-of-19 passes for 152 yards, no touchdowns and an interception against Penn State, while Robby Ashford completed 10-of-19 passes for 144 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Missouri used its tune-up game against FCS foe Abilene Christian last Saturday to get its offense on track.

Quarterback Brady Cook completed 21-of-30 passes for 292 yards and three touchdowns in the 34-17 victory. He added 42 yards rushing on six carries.

Receiver Dominic Lovett caught seven passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Lovett has 16 catches for 274 yards in three games after making 26 receptions for 173 yards all of last season.

“Incredible. Just a playmaker,” Cook said of Lovett. “I’ve said this a million times. It’s like beating a dead horse. But just get the ball to him and he makes crazy plays. Obviously, he’s a huge weapon.”

Like Auburn, Missouri will come into this game seeking much better offensive line play. With starting left guard Xavier Delgado sidelined by injury, Missouri took five holding penalties. Delgado is questionable and Drinkwitz, citing 13 offensive line penalties in three weeks, said job competition remains open.

–Field Level Media

Sep 17, 2022; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers running back Cody Schrader (20) runs the ball against Abilene Christian Wildcats defensive lineman Jordan Paup (45) and defensive lineman David Oke (98) during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Brady Cook propels Missouri past Abilene Christian

Brady Cook completed 21 of 30 passes for 294 yards and three touchdowns as Missouri posted a 34-17 win over visiting Abilene Christian on Saturday in Columbia, Mo.

Dominic Lovett caught seven passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns for the Tigers (2-1). Luther Burden III had a 78-yard touchdown punt return and 177 all-purpose yards.

Maverick McIvor completed 19 of 32 passes for 203 yards with a touchdown and interception for the Wildcats (2-1). Jermiah Dobbins added 69 rushing.

Missouri outgained Abilene Christian 487-308, but the Tigers were slowed by nine penalties for 85 yards and two missed field goals by Harrison Mevis.

After Missouri forced Abilene Christian’s offense into a three-and-out sequence to open the game, Burden returned the ensuing punt 78 yards for a touchdown.

Moving from their own 1-yard line, the Wildcats went 77 yards to set up Blair Zepeda’s 38-yard field goal.

Cook’s 79-yard touchdown pass to Lovett over the top of the secondary pushed Missouri’s lead to 14-3.

The Tigers made it 17-3 with Mevis’ 32-yard field goal with 3:21 left in the first half. Cook’s 25-yard completion to Cody Schrader was the key play on the scoring drive.

Missouri followed up Ennis Rakestraw Jr.’s interception with Cook’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Nathaniel Peat for a 24-3 lead.

The Wildcats scored a defensive touchdown to cut their deficit to 24-10. David Oke sacked Cook and forced a fumble, with Alexander Duke recovering the ball in the end zone.

The Tigers responded with an eight-play, 85-yard touchdown drive to build a 31-10 lead. Cook got Missouri rolling with a 29-yard run and he finished the sequence with a 13-yard scoring pass to Lovett.

Mevis’ 52-yard field goal with 3:11 left made it 34-10. The Wildcats countered with McIvor’s 49-yard touchdown pass to Blayne Taylor that finished off a five-play, 75-yard drive.

–Field Level Media

Missouri quarterback Brady Cook (12) runs away from a Kansas State defender during a game against Kansas State at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas, on Sept. 10, 2022.

Missouri sticking with QB Brady Cook against Abilene Christian

Missouri hopes to get its offense back on track when it hosts Abilene Christian Saturday.

The Tigers (1-1) suffered a 40-12 loss at Kansas State in Week 2. They mustered 222 offensive yards and 14 first downs against their former Big 12 rival.

“We obviously weren’t clean in running the ball or in protecting the quarterback and then just didn’t make plays,” Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said. “There were some plays early that I thought we missed that could have changed the tide, but we didn’t get it done.”

Now they face the Wildcats (2-0) of the Western Athletic Conference at Faurot Field. Abilene Christian overcame a 13-7 first-half deficit to defeat Prairie View A&M, 21-13, in its previous game.

“We’ve got an inexperienced young defense,” said first-year Wildcats coach Keith Patterson, who was previously defensive coordinator at Texas Tech. “We just have to get these guys to come out of the gate a little earlier. But I like the way that when stuff has happened the last two weeks, we’ve gone down in both games and our defense just keeps getting better and as the game goes.”

Missouri quarterback Brady Cook completed 15-of 27 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns against Kansas State. He also rushed for 56 yards on 13 carries.

Backup quarterback Jack Abraham relieved Cook for two series and went 0-for-3 with two interceptions.

“Brady’s our quarterback,” Drinkwitz said. “I was just trying to light a spark or get something else going. But Brady’s our quarterback.”

Missouri rushed for 235 yards and piled up 558 total yards while beating Louisiana Tech 52-24 at home in its season opener.

But at Kansas State, running backs Nathaniel Peat, Cody Schrader and Elijah Young combined to gain 32 yards on 21 carries for the Tigers. Freshman receiver Luther Burden III, one of the highest-ranked recruits in school history, produced nine yards on one catch and one carry.

“One game doesn’t define the season. How we respond will,” Drinkwitz said. “There’s going to be a lot of negative thoughts and opinions out there about it. But this team’s got to stay together. Everything we’re trying to accomplish is still out in front of us.”

Abilene Christian has opened the season with two victories over Division I foes for the first time in school history. The Wildcats defeated Lamar 28-14 at home in their season opener.

Wildcats quarterback Maverick McIvor, a transfer from Texas Tech, has completed 42 of 72 passes for 483 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions in two games. Receiver Kendall Catalon has 11 catches for 162 yards and a touchdown.

Defensive lineman Tyrin Bradley recorded 10 tackles against Prairie View and earned WAC Defensive Player of the Week honors.

— Field Level Media

Sep 3, 2022; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Kansas State Wildcats running back Deuce Vaughn (22) is chased by South Dakota Coyotes linebacker Tre Thomas (21) during the second quarter at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri vs. K-State: Familiar foes yet total strangers

Missouri and Kansas State have played each other in football nearly 100 times, but the last time the two schools faced off, even the fifth-year seniors were still in grade school.

The former conference foes have not met since 2011, when new K-State offensive coordinator Collin Klein quarterbacked the Wildcats to a 24-17 victory over the Tigers. The following season, Missouri bolted from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference and their border series ended.

Both teams opened the season with convincing victories against overmatched opponents, and when they square off for the 98th time Saturday, this time in Manhattan, Kan., both know their quality of opponent will rise.

Missouri (1-0) is coming off a convincing 52-24 victory over Louisiana Tech on Sept. 1. The Tigers built a 38-10 lead after three quarters and Tech — forced to play catchup — finished with 337 yards of offense, but only 11 on the ground.

That was quite an upgrade for Missouri’s defense, which was one of the nation’s worst against the run last year.

“The defense, wow,” Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz said. “What a difference a year makes. To hold them to 11 yards rushing is pretty impressive. Can’t say enough about the effort those guys had.”

Kansas State (1-0) was pretty vanilla on offense while dominating South Dakota 34-0 on Sept. 3. Yet, the Wildcats pose a much bigger challenge to the Missouri defense.

The Wildcats ran for 297 yards against South Dakota, the most for the team since 2019. And with preseason All-American Deuce Vaughn watching most of the second half from the sideline, that number could have been even higher.

Vaughn rushed for 126 yards and a touchdown against South Dakota. It was his seventh straight game with more than 100 rushing yards, three shy of Darren Sproles’ school-record 10-game streak spanning the 2002 and 2003 seasons.

“That’s a testament to our offensive line,” Vaughn said. “The way they played, it was one of those things where we didn’t get to our entire playbook. We ran the ball pretty well, to the point where if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

“We were able to keep some of those things in the shadows going into next week and keep some plays that we could have ran tonight away from a team like Missouri.”

Missouri leads the all-time series 59-33-5.

–Field Level Media

Nov 26, 2021; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks ruling back Raheim Sanders (5) runs the ball during the second quarter against the Missouri Tigers at Donald W. Reynolds Razorbacks Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

No. 25 Arkansas beats Missouri for eighth victory

Raheim Sanders rushed for two touchdowns as No. 25 Arkansas closed out its regular season and Southeastern Conference play with a 34-17 win over Missouri on Friday in Fayetteville, Ark.

The West Division Razorbacks (8-4, 4-4 SEC) broke a five-game losing streak against their cross-division rival from the East and finished with their fourth win in five games.

Arkansas notched its first eight-win season since 2015 when it went 8-5.

KJ Jefferson was 15-for-19 passing for 262 yards and a TD to Treylon Burks, who caught seven passes for 129 yards and a score.

Burks’ six 100-yard receiving games this season set a school record. Trelon Smith rushed for a TD.

Montaric Brown notched his fifth interception for Arkansas, which beat Missouri for the second time in eight conference meetings.

The Tigers (6-6, 3-5) got 219 rushing yards and a score on 41 carries from Tyler Badie — the SEC’s leading rusher. It marks the fifth time Badie topped 200 yards this season.

Badie has 1,604 yards on 268 attempts with 14 TDs.

Connor Bazelak was just 10-of-26 passing for 65 yards and an interception.

Jefferson helped put the Razorbacks up 3-0 on their first series — sprinting 49 yards up the middle — to set up Cam Little’s 36-yard field goal with 10:01 left in the opening quarter.

Late in the first quarter, Missouri’s defense forced a fumble by Smith, but seven plays by the Tigers produced just 11 yards.

Kicker Harrison Mevis then connected from 46 yards with13:27 left in the half.

On the best drive of the first half, the Razorbacks traveled 76 yards on eight plays, with Jefferson’s 43-yard pass to Burks putting the home side in business at the Missouri 7-yard line. Sanders bulled in from a yard out for a 10-3 lead with 5:53 left.

One of the top kickers in the country, Mevis nailed a 49-yarder with 3:02 left that rounded out the half’s scoring at 10-6.

Badie was strong with 117 yards on 22 first-half carries, but the Razorbacks did an impressive job keeping the Tigers out of the end zone.

Early in the third, De’Vion Warren took a bubble screen from Jefferson and went 55 yards, and Smith rumbled 4 yards for a 17-6 lead.

On their next series, the Razorbacks went up 24-6 when Jefferson found Burks for 52 yards.

Mevis added a 41-yard kick — raising him to 20-of-22 in an excellent season — but Little matched it from 23 yards with 11:44 left.

Sanders’ 7-yard scoring run and Badie’s late TD rush rounded out the scoring.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2021; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Arkansas Razorbacks defensive back Simeon Blair (15) and defensive back LaDarrius Bishop (24) tackle Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Slade Bolden (18) at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama won 42-35. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

No. 25 Arkansas looks to refocus vs. Missouri after tough loss

With a chance to complete a breakthrough season, Arkansas coach Sam Pittman does not want to see his team let up after a tough loss last weekend.

The No. 25 Razorbacks conclude the 2021 campaign against cross-divisional rival Missouri in a Friday afternoon Southeastern Conference contest in Fayetteville, Ark.

A victory Saturday would mark the first time the Razorbacks have won eight regular-season games since Bobby Petrino’s 2011 squad went 10-2.

While Pittman’s business at hand is getting ready for the Tigers (6-5, 3-4 SEC), thoughts of last week’s tight 42-35 road loss to No. 2 Alabama still linger.

“I thought we were pretty good in the game making adjustments,” Pittman said. “I thought it was two really good football teams with two really good game plans. We just ended up seven (points) short.”

The offense got hefty production from quarterback KJ Jefferson (326 passing yards, three touchdowns) and receiver Treylon Burks (eight catches for 179 yards, two scores).

Arkansas (7-4, 3-4) has a chance to put together a strong season in Pittman’s second year after the former University of Georgia offensive line coach’s squad went 3-7 in an all-SEC schedule in 2020.

After starting 4-0 and being ranked as high as No. 8 following a 20-10 win over Texas A&M on Sept. 25, the Razorbacks have a chance to win eight games and appear in a New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day bowl game.

Their 222.3 rushing yards per game ranks 14th in the country, and they are second in runs of 10-or-more yards.

Trelon Smith tops Arkansas with 555 yards rushing on 111 carries.

The Tigers have been much better against the run after being thrashed earlier this season and have used their own running game as a strength.

The Tigers rank ninth in the SEC in rushing — 172.4 yards per game — and Tyler Badie leads the conference with 1,393 yards on 227 attempts (6.1 per carry) and has 13 rushing TDs.

Badie also tops the team with 53 catches and four touchdown receptions.

“They’re a hot team right now, having won their last two games, and have a really good offensive line,” Pittman said. “Badie is not only their leading rusher but leading receiver by a long ways.”

Missouri holds a 9-3 overall edge in the series, including a 6-1 mark since joining the SEC, and have been victorious in the last five meetings.

Coach Eli Drinkwitz made a bold call in overtime, and the Tigers became bowl-eligible Saturday in their thrilling 24-23 home win over Florida, getting Connor Bazelak’s two-point floater to Daniel Parker Jr. for the walk-off victory.

After sitting at 3-4 following a 35-14 loss to Texas A&M on Oct. 16, the Tigers’ staff decided to change the team’s approach.

“We weren’t improving at the rate we needed to. We had to rededicate ourselves to how are we were going to focus on improvement of individual player development and commitment to the team,” Drinkwitz said.

The Tigers will have to prepare for a tough combo in Jefferson and Burks.

“Jefferson is really having a remarkable season,” said the second-year Tigers coach. “He’s really difficult to tackle and does a good job of creating time and space in the pocket and delivers the ball downfield.

“Burks is one of the top two wide receivers in the league. That would be a great contest between him and (Bama’s) Jameson Williams. Treylon is very special.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 13, 2021; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers running back Tyler Badie (1) runs the ball as South Carolina Gamecocks defensive back Jaylan Foster (12) and linebacker Brad Johnson (19) make the tackle during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Badie leads Missouri past South Carolina

Tyler Badie rushed 209 yards and a touchdown and Connor Bazelak threw for 180 yards and two touchdowns Saturday to lead host Missouri to a 31-28 victory over South Carolina in a Southeastern Conference game.

Bazelak went 15-for-23 passing that included two interceptions, with Badie finishing with five receptions for 22 yards and Mookie Cooper catching three catches for 72 yards and a touchdown for the Tigers (5-5, 2-4 SEC).

South Carolina quarterback Jason Brown went 16-for-30 passing for 193 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, but he also committed a costly fumble that was recovered for a touchdown.

Josh Vann had five receptions for 62 yards and a touchdown, while Zaquandre White rushed for 60 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries for the Gamecocks (5-5, 2-5).

Leading 17-14 late in the third quarter, Missouri’s defense took control of the game.

On first-and-10 from his team’s 17-yard line, Brown dropped back to pass. But defensive back Martez Manuel blitzed and sacked Brown, knocking the ball free. Travion Ford fell on it in the end zone for a touchdown and a 24-14 lead with 4:28 left in the quarter.

Badie put the game away on the Tigers’ next possession when his 19-yard touchdown run pushed the lead to 31-14 with 12:31 left in the game.

Brown pulled South Carolina to 31-21 with a 38-yard touchdown pass to White with 6:56 remaining. After Bazelak threw an interception that gave the Gamecocks the ball at the Tigers’ 14-yard line, White scored on a three-yard run with 4:32 left to cut the deficit to 31-28.

Yet, Missouri ran out the clock on its ensuing possession.

South Carolina accounted for the only scoring in the first quarter on Kevin Harris’ two-yard run less than three minutes into the game.

Missouri dominated the second quarter. After Bazelak threw a two-yard touchdown to Daniel Parker just 34 seconds into the quarter, he gave the Tigers a 14-7 lead a little more than two minutes later with a 60-yard strike to Cooper.

After South Carolina tied the score on Brown’s 26-yard touchdown pass to Josh Vann with 4:26 left in the quarter, the Tigers took a 17-14 lead into halftime on Harrison Mevis’ 19-yard field goal as time expired.

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; Athens, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Jalen Carter (88) tackles Missouri Tigers quarterback Tyler Macon (10) during the first half at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Georgia rolls past Missouri

Stetson Bennett threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns to lead top-ranked Georgia to a 43-6 victory over visiting Missouri on Saturday in Athens, Ga.

Bennett went 13-for-19 passing and JT Daniels came off the bench to complete 7 of 11 passes for 82 yards with a touchdown and an interception for Bulldogs (9-0, 7-0 SEC), who overcame a sluggish start to overwhelm the Tigers (4-5, 1-4).

Jermaine Burton caught three for 76 yards and a score, while running back James Cook rushed for a team-high 41 yards and a score on nine carries. Georgia outgained Missouri 505-273.

True freshman quarterback Tyler Macon made his first start for the Tigers, filling in for the injured Connor Bazelak. Macon went 3-for-7 passing for nine yards before being replaced by redshirt freshman Brady Cook late in the second quarter. Brady Cook went 14-for-19 passing for 78 yards, with running back Tyler Badie, the SEC’s leading rusher, being held to 41 on nine carries.

Macon re-entered the game in the final minutes and led Missouri to Georgia’s 1-yard line in the final seconds to finish the day 6-for-13 passing for 74 yards and another 42 rushing.

Burton caught a 12-yard pass from Bennett to open the third quarter and push the lead to 33-3, ending Bennett’s day. He was replaced by Daniels, who saw his first action since the first quarter of Georgia’s win over Vanderbilt on Sept. 25.

Daniels capped his first series with a 5-yard scoring strike to Ladd McConkey for a 40-3 lead with 7:26 left in the third quarter.

Georgia began taking over the game after Missouri took a 3-0 on Harrison Mevis’ 36-yard field goal with 5:50 left in the first quarter.

Bennett threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Arian Smith on a fourth-and-six to cap an 11-play, 75-yard drive with 42 seconds left in the quarter.

Georgia pushed the lead to 9-3 after Nolan Smith blocked Missouri’s punt, with the ball rolling out of the end zone after several Bulldogs failed to grab it in the field of play for what would have been a touchdown with 14:12 left in the half.

Georgia scored on its next three possessions to end the half. Zamir White’s 1-yard run capped a five-play, 62-yard drive with 11:37 remaining before Jack Podlesny pushed the lead to 19-3 with a 20-yard field goal with 5:05 left in the half.

The Bulldogs pushed their advantage to 26-3 on Cook’s 1-yard run to end a nine-play, 74-yard drive with 18 seconds left in the second quarter.

–Field Level Media