Defense Holds, Tigers Survive Bout with UCF

Saturday, Sept. 29-

Looking to bounce back after a conference loss to South Carolina, the Missouri Tigers headed down to Central Florida where they were able to find a 21-16 victory.

Missouri (3-2, 0-2 SEC) came out flat, however, giving up points in the first quarter for the first time all season. UCF kicker Shawn Moffitt put the Knights on the scoreboard early with a 42-yard field goal.

With doubts swirling around James Franklin, he delivered in the second quarter with an 80-yard touchdown pass to highly recruited freshman Dorial Green-Beckham. Green-Beckham had yet to score in his first four games.

Central Florida dominated much of the first half both defensively and offensively holding onto the ball for 22 minutes of the first 30 minutes. Quarterback Blake Bortles marched the Knights offense down the field after the Tigers scored. With 9:11 left in the second quarter, Bortles found wideout Quincy McDuffle on a 12-yard touchdown completion, capping off the 86-yard drive.

Mizzou began with the ball in the second half with a chance to get its offense moving. The drive seemed very promising until Franklin threw an interception inside the red zone. Coach Pinkel decided to remain with Franklin with backup quarterback Corbin Berkstesser warming up.

The Tigers defense had a whole new attitude in the second half, shutting down UCF’s offense. The turning point for Missouri came when Marcus Murphy returned a punt 66 yards for a touchdown. That gave the Tigers the lead again 14-10.

In the fourth quarter, the Tigers stretched their lead to 21-10 on a 10-yard touchdown run by Kendial Lawrence. The Knights weren’t done yet however.

With under six minutes remaining, UCF took the ball at their own 17-yard line. Bortles drove the Knights offense completing all five of his passes and connecting with wide out Jeff Godfrey for an 18-yard touchdown completion. Central Florida’s two-point conversion attempt failed, making the score 21-16.

On the ensuing drive, the Knights defense held Missouri to a three and out. They would get the ball back with 2:31 remaining in the game. The final drive didn’t last long however, when Mizzou’s E.J. Gaines punched the ball out of Godfrey’s hands allowing the Tigers to regain possession with no UCF timeouts remaining.

The Tigers ran out the remaining seconds with four Lawrence rushes and a first down.

Missouri moves on to play Vanderbilt at 6 p.m. October 6 at Faurot Field.

-Jim Corkery
23 Sports
Staff Writer