By: Taylor Wilson, KCOU Sports
On an emotional afternoon in central Florida, Missouri edged Minnesota 33-17 on Thursday in the 2015 Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl.
The win capped off an 11-3 season and their 23rd win in two years, a school record.
In defensive coordinator Dave Steckel’s final game with the Tigers before leaving to become Missouri State’s head coach, Mizzou’s defense had a big day, forcing three turnovers and holding a notoriously strong rushing attack to just 106 yards. The star of the show was Markus Golden, who racked up 10 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and a fumble recovery to earn the game’s MVP in his final game with Missouri.
“It’s a blessing just to be a part of the Mizzou team. It’s one of the big days of my life.”
After Minnesota jumped out to an early 7-0 lead that took them to the end of the 1st quarter, Missouri responded with a field goal and touchdown before halftime.
The game’s craziest moment came when Missouri tried and recovered an onside kick to start the second half, leading to an Andrew Baggett field goal to go up 13-7.
“We practiced that 50 times,” Pinkel said. It certainly seemed that way.
Minnesota responded with a 54-yard rocket from Mitch Leidner to Maxx Williams to go up 14-13 but that would be the last lead of the season for the Gophers.
Missouri responded with an 18-yard Maty Mauk touchdown run to lead 19-14 after a missed 2-point conversion try. They would never look back.
Marcus Murphy and Russell Hansbrough combined for 271 yards rushing including bursts of 69 and 78 yards respectively.
Minnesota’s David Cobb rushed for 81 yards, while Maxx Williams had 7 receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown. The loss was the 3rd in 3 consecutive bowl games for Minnesota and was head coach Jerry Kill’s 5th bowl game loss in 5 tries, including two losses while head coach at Northern Illinois.