Liv Moyers- 23 Sports

The Missouri Tigers hosted the Central Michigan Chippewas for their season opener game and came out with a 34-24 win.

In the first quarter, Mizzou quarterback Connor Bazelak completed a pass to D’ionte Smith for a 63-yard gain to end up on the Central Michigan 12-yard line. Tyler Badie followed the play with a 12-yard run into the endzone for a touchdown. Kicker Harrison Mevis came out for the first time since last season and sent his kick through the uprights to help the Tigers go up with an early 7-0 lead. Coming back only a few minutes later, CMU quarterback Jacob Sirmon threw a pass to Sean Koetting for a 65-yard reception, which put the Chippewas at the Mizzou 9-yard line. After a 2-yard run play, Sirmon passed to JaCorey Sullivan for a 7-yard touchdown. A successful Marshall Meeder PAT tied the game 7-7 in the first quarter. The rest of the first consisted of punt after punt between the Tigers and Chippewas, until the Tigers intercepted the ball with 0.57 seconds left in the quarter. The Tiger offense didn’t make it down to the end zone after the interception, so MU’s Grant Mckinniss punted 33 yards to land the ball at the Chippewa 10-yard line to start the second quarter.

The Chippewas came out in the second quarter with a strong offensive drive. Lew Nichols III ran the ball 27 yards for Central Michigan to start the drive and ran the ball 18 yards to the end zone to finish it. The kick from Meeder was good, which gave the Chippewas their only lead over the Tigers in the game at 14-7. The Tigers offense came out after a tough defensive drive. With the help of the Chippewas defensive penalties, the Tigers found themselves at the CMU 25-yard line. Bazelak passed the ball to Badie for a 30-yard touchdown, which came after a run for negative yardage by Mookie Cooper. Mevis made his second extra point kick to make it a 14-14 ballgame. The second quarter ended with Mevis taking all the pressure on himself. He made a jaw-dropping 53-yard field goal for a personal in-game record. His successful kick put the Tigers back on top 17-14 going into halftime.

The Chippewas started the second half with an offensive struggle and punted the ball once again. Mizzou’s defense intercepted the ball and gave the offense the chance to score, although the offense also had a tough start. Bazelak passed the ball around, but the Tigers struggled to do anything with it. The Tigers offense got fired up after a Chippewas pass interference penalty. Elijah Young ran the ball 32 yards into the end zone for Mizzou, with another kick by Mevis to place the Tigers on top 24-14.

After an illegal substitution from the Chippewas ended the third quarter, CMUs offense responded in the fourth quarter with redshirt freshman Quarterback Daniel Richardson coming off the bench. Richardson threw a 6-yard pass to JaCorey Sullivan for a touchdown. Meeder followed with a successful PAT to narrow Mizzou’s lead 24-21.

Mizzou’s offense once again came out strong after another pass interference call on the Chippewas. That call led to Bazelak’s pass to Josh Rolston for a 65-yard reception. The drive ended with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Niko Hea. Mevis had another successful PAT which gave the Tigers a 31-21 lead. The Tigers defense showed up with multiple big plays with only a few minutes left in the game. The Chippewas needed a touchdown, but Mizzou’s defense shut them out. Sirmon threw seven incomplete passes for Central Michigan. That forced a 51-yard field goal attempt. Meeder’s attempt was successful, which brought the score to 31-24.

The Tigers offense had struggled in the fourth quarter with a bunch of plays that resulted in negative yardage in an attempt to run out the clock. Mevis ended the drive with a 44-yard field goal for a final score of 34-24. As Sirmon tried to get his team to score some final points, Mekhi Wingo made an incredible sack at the 50-yard line as the clock ran out, and the Tigers took home their first win of the season.

The Tigers had a total of 22 1st downs, 468 total yards, 257 passing, 211 rushing, 4-19 penalties and had possession 27:48. The Tigers will be on the road next week to take on Kentucky Wildcats, Kickoff will be at 6:30.