By Lucas Owens
The Mizzou Tigers ended a five game home stand with a 5-1 record after a resounding win on homecoming against Ole Miss. Now, after a brutal road trip and a struggle at home against Florida, the Tigers find themselves reeling at 5-5.
Play in the first quarter started out great for the defense. After allowing a field goal on the first drive, the Tigers stopped Florida from scoring three drives in a row and even tied it up on a field goal by Tucker McCann. After a quick answer by the Gators, Mizzou entered halftime down just three points to the No. 11 ranked team in the country.
Florida then proceeded to score a quick touchdown on their first drive of the second half on a fantastic pass from quarterback Kyle Trask to Josh Hammond. However, the real death knell for the Mizzou Tigers is what came on Florida’s next scoring drive.
On second and 10, Trask lofted the ball up the sideline, intending the pass for receiver Kyle Pitts. However, what he did not see was Mizzou’s Khalil Oliver coming back towards the ball and then getting into a struggle with Pitts to come down with it. At first sight, it appeared Oliver did, but the official on the field ruled that it was actually Pitts who caught the ball. After a lengthy review, there was not enough evidence to change the call. Three plays later, Trask threw a pass to Lamical Perine and gave Florida a two-score lead, one that would prove to be insurmountable based on the play of their defense.
Controversy soon followed, as for many it should have been a clear call that Oliver came down with the ball at the end of the play.
“I never felt the receiver had complete control of the ball,” coach Barry Odom said. “That was the way I saw it. If whenever the rule comes down to tie it always goes to the offense. That definition of a tie and mine are different I guess.”
“If you saw it, I think everybody has their own opinion about it, I have my own,” Oliver said. “I would like for it to go my way, but, you know, it happens.”
Mizzou never got deep into the Florida side of the field after that call, ending the game on an interception by returning quarterback Kelly Bryant, who missed the game against Georgia with a leg injury.
“It felt good,” Bryant said. “Just a little sore right now, but I’m playing and moving around right now it’s good.”
The Tigers allowed Florida just 386 yards, but that was not enough to make up for the performance of the offense. Mizzou had 256 yards of offense all game, 204 coming from Bryant’s passing. However, big plays were not a part of their offense, as the longest pass completed to a Tiger was 44 yards to receiver Jalen Knox.
“We’re eventually going to figure out the things that we need to do,” Knox said. “Start making things quick and just try to move things forward and improve.”
The Tigers now face Tennessee at home next Saturday for their last home game of the season, before traveling to Fayetteville, Ark. to face off against Arkansas. The Tigers need to win one of their last two to gain bowl eligibility amid their appeal of the NCAA’s postseason ban.
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org