No. 5 Missouri Falls Short in SEC Championship Game

Nick Hehemann and Jeremy Schrank bring you the highlights from No. 5 Missouri’s SEC championship showdown against No. 3 Auburn.

By Mitchel Summers, 23 Sports

Saturday, Dec. 7-

The No. 5 Missouri football team saw its incredible regular season comes to a close in the SEC Championship game with a 59-42 to the No. 3 Auburn Tigers.

Both teams showed incredible dominance offensively. Mizzou played balanced football by racking up 303 yards passing and 231 yards on the ground. With a rushing attack that was spearheaded by Tre Mason, Auburn racked up 545 rushing yards. Mason contributed 46 carries for 304 yards and 4 touchdown runs. Both numbers were SEC Championship records.

The first half was a showcase of two vastly different offenses: Mizzou’s passing game versus Auburn’s ground and pound. Both offenses proved to be equally lethal.

After a Mizzou field goal, Auburn did not waste any time responding on its next drive. Auburn marched downfield with its strong run game and it was the threat of the run game that set up a touchdown. Auburn faked the jet sweep run and Nick Marshall heaved a pass 38 yards downfield to Sammie Coats to put the blue and orange ahead.

The next drive was the Dorial Green-Beckham show. Green-Beckham ran a deep post route and elevated to catch the ball at its highest point over an Auburn defender for a 28-yard touchdown. Green-Beckham had a great outing versus Auburn, snagging 6 passes for 144 yards and 2 scores.

Auburn swung back during the next drive. On the first play, Marshall fired another dart to Coats, who rumbled for a 54-yard reception. Marshall finished off the drive as he slipped outside the pocket and thundered in for a 9-yard score.

After a Mizzou turnover, Auburn started deep in its own territory, leaving no room for error. Mizzou defensive linemen Kony Ealy forced a fumble which E.J. Gaines picked up and took to the house for an 11-yard touchdown.

On Auburn’s following possessions, Mason was a one-man show. He plowed his way through the Mizzou defense, toting the ball nine times for 128 yards and 2 scores.

After exchanging possessions, Mizzou took over from its own 8-yard line with 1:10 left on the clock. The Tigers weren’t going to be denied a score. Mizzou waltzed downfield to its own 45. James Franklin, with 26 seconds left, hurled a bullet to Green-Beckham, who took the ball into the end zone for a 55-yard touchdown.

Despite the late score, the Auburn Tigers held 28-27 lead going into the half.

Both offenses cooled off to start the second half, with Auburn scoring only a field goal in the opening minutes. It didn’t take long though for both to get back into their earlier groove.

Mizzou struck first in the second half, thanks to Franklin leading another scoring drive. Franklin was 4/5 passing on the drive and connected on passes of 21 yards to Bud Sasser and 37-yards to Green-Beckham. He later found an open Marcus Murphy in the end zone for a touchdown.

After two more rushing scores by Auburn, Mizzou was looking for a spark to get back into the game, and Henry Josey answered the call. Josey squirted up the middle for a 65-yard run that couldn’t have come at a better time for the Tigers. The run set up a 5-yard touchdown scamper by Franklin.

Unfortunately for the Missouri Tigers, Auburn tallied two more scores by Mason, and Mizzou was unable to put up any more points.

The loss was an unfortunate ending to Mizzou’s incredible year. The team will now wait for the bowl selection to find out where they will play for a bowl championship.