By: Joey Schneider
JONESBORO, Ark. – Heading into Jonesboro with a 10-game road winning-streak, the No. 21 Missouri Tigers defeated the Arkansas State Red Wolves 27-20 Saturday. The victory not only snapped Arkansas State’s 10 game winning-streak on home openers, but also kept the Red Wolves winless in 26 career contests against the Southeastern Conference.
“There were certainly a lot of good things [tonight], but there are certainly some things we can improve on,” said Mizzou head coach Gary Pinkel. “I thought [Arkansas State] took advantage of some mistakes we made, but we took advantage of a couple [mistakes] they made.”
Despite leading by a lone field goal after the first quarter, early offensive inconsistencies hindered Mizzou from pulling away quickly. The offense only compiled 106 all-purpose yards in the first half, hindered by two separate interceptions from Maty Mauk and Drew Lock.
Nearly returning Mauk’s interception for a touchdown, Arkansas State took a 7-3 lead on a red zone touchdown to Tres Houston. While the Tigers responded with a red zone touchdown from Nate Brown, the Red Wolves used time efficiently to score in the first half’s final minute, holding a 17-10 lead at halftime.
After four scoreless possession changes to start the second half, Mizzou tied the game on a 32-yard touchdown from Wesley Leftwich. Less than three minutes later, Sean Culkin added to the Tigers’ improving reception game with a 21-yard touchdown, a decisive factor to Mizzou’s 24-17 lead after the third quarter.
“We did a great job with picking ourselves up [after halftime],” said offensive lineman Evan Boehm, who played through a sprained ankle. “Coming back, we wanted to show the defense that the offense had their back.”
Arkansas State sustained momentum by intercepting an early fourth quarter pass from Mauk and settling for a field goal on the ensuing drive. However, the defense persevered through various challenges, helping Mizzou grind through their first road game of the season.
Kentrell Brothers ended the Red Wolves’ last offensive threat with his second interception of the game, leading a strong defensive effort with 16 tackles.
“It’s always good to end the game with a takeaway,” said Brothers. “Any time we can get a good stop or takeaway, it’s always good for us.”
Improving to 2-0 on the young season, Mizzou will face another non-conference opponent next Saturday at 11:00 a.m. when the Connecticut Huskies travel to Columbia, Mo.