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Texas Bowl 2017: Texas beats Missouri, 33-16

A live blog for the 2017 Texas Bowl. Read it ... if you dare.

NCAA Football: Texas Bowl-Texas vs Missouri Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Fourth quarter

0:00. After a series of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties from Texas, Lock connects with Moore one last time, then Collins as well, but he’s stripped one last time, and Texas recovers. Turnovers: Mizzou 4, Texas 0. Texas kneels out the clock.

1:39. TEXAS 33, MIZZOU 16. Foreman scores on an 18-yard reverse. Sigh.

3:15. After yet another false start, Lock fires a slant ... right into Davante Davis’ arms at the Mizzou 14. Davis plays for Texas. That’ll do it. Mizzou’s going to outgain Texas by about 90-100 yards but lose by double digits. Shades of the South Carolina game.

3:20. And of course Dickson’s punt is downed at the damn 4. Unfair. So unfair.

If Dickson isn’t named MVP, stop naming MVPs.

3:31. After two Young carries gain five yards, Texas calls a screen to Porter that just works. Porter splits two defenders and picks up 10 for a fresh set of downs. A.J. Logan eats up Porter for a loss of five, but Ehlinger runs a QB draw for 13 to set up another third-and-short, and Porter just barely converts. This is eating up clock.

Texas attempts some misdirection, and Colin Johnson can’t quite make an acrobatic catch, then Prewett knocks Foreman for a five-yard loss. But on third-and-15 with 6:19 left, Texas runs a fancy screen to gain just enough. You know now Texas was 2-for-13 on third downs? They’re now 5-for-16.

Make it 5-for-17. Mizzou finally gets a stop when Marcell Frazier stuffs Ehlinger, but Texas will punt with 3:31 left. This was by far the most important drive of the night for Texas, and it came at a devastating time.

10:45. After Sherrils returns the kickoff to the 28, Lock hits Okwuegbunam on a short pass, and he breaks a tackle and rumbles to the Mizzou 45. He narrowly misses on a lob to Collins, then Rountree gains five to set up a third-and-5. A blitz forces a quick throw from Lock, and Fatony’s punt, unlike all of Dickson’s, bounces into the end zone. Mizzou flipped the field, but the Tigers can’t go scoreless on that many more drives here.

Field position has been the defining factor, but here’s another stat that hasn’t helped: Mizzou is 3-for-14 on third downs. The only saving grace here is that Texas is 2-for-13. But ... Mizzou’s down 10. It’s barely a saving grace.

12:15. TEXAS 26, MIZZOU 16. Jordan Harold opens the fourth quarter with another big play, a six-yard sack on Ehlinger. A short slant to Hurd sets up third-and-11, and a scrambling Ehlinger can’t hit Joe in-bounds. But ... Acy is called for roughing the passer, and it is an absolutely dreadful call.

Acy jumped in the air to block the pass and bumped Ehlinger on the landing. Horrible call. And it just bought Texas a field goal. Three plays and six yards later, Joshua Rowland makes a 41-yard field goal to put Texas up 10.

Third quarter

0:00. Foreman returns the McCann’s free kick to the UT 47, and Young explodes up the middle for an eight-yard gain — it could have been much more if not for a sure tackle by Garrett. Ehlinger picks up just enough to move the chains, and the fourth quarter will begin with Texas at the Mizzou 43.

Some stats:

Mizzou has completely dominated the last two quarters but has only cut Texas’ lead from 14 to seven because of fumbles and field position.

  • Average starting field position: UT 38.5, Mizzou 14.5.

That is the difference in the game, and Dickson is responsible for so much of it.

1:10. TEXAS 23, MIZZOU 16. Ugh. On second-and-10 from the 10, Trystan Castillo bombs a snap to an unsuspecting Lock, who has to knock the ball out of the end zone for a safety. Credit those two points to Dickson. Texas is back up seven despite a minus-138 yardage margin.

1:20. After an incomplete lob to Burt, Young gains eight yards to set up third-and-2, but Garrett stuffs Ehlinger on a keeper. For the eighth straight drive, Texas has to punt. And of course, he uncorks a beauty that rolls out of bounds at the Mizzou 10. Dickson is the reason why Texas still holds a lead right now.

2:44. TEXAS 21, MIZZOU 16. Mizzou is able to actually carve out some space with Rountree. He gains 13 yards in two carries to move the chains, then a dump-off to Albert O moves them again. Lock finds Moore for a short gain, and he nearly hits Dominic Collins for a big gain on the scramble, but it’s broken up. On third-and-6 from the 31, a screen to Rountree actually works. He jukes a defender at the first down marker and bursts upfield for 25 yards to the UT 44. The freshman now has 63 rushing yards and 29 receiving yards.

After a short Rountree carry, Lock finds Moore on a perfect slant, but the senior drops it. No worries: another dump to Rountree just barely moves the chains on third-and-7.

From the 33, Lock fires incomplete to Richaud Floyd, but Witter explodes upfield for 15 yards against a gassed Texas defense. A slant to Collins is well off-target — Mizzou’s passing game has been dreadfully inefficient on this drive but has been bailed out by the runs and screens (the polar opposite of the rest of the game) — and a short Rountree run sets up third-and-7 from the 15. That was an exhausting high-wire act of a drive.

On the biggest play of the game so far, Lock keeps it on a zone read (???) and gains about five yards, setting up a fourth-and-2. Mizzou wastes no time sending Tucker McCann onto the field for a 28-yarder. He nails it, and Mizzou’s within five. Sixteen plays, 87 yards, three points.

8:17. Jordan Harold’s last game might be his best so far. He drops Young for a five-yard loss on the first play of Texas’ drive, then Acy eats up a screen to Young. On third-and-15, Ehlinger scrambles for a few yards but is eaten up by Williams and Bledsoe. (Freshman and freshman.)

And then Dickson ... good god. His punt checks up at the Mizzou 2 and waits for a Texas player to down it. This is unfair, Michael. Texas’ punter has been by far the most valuable player in this stupid game.

10:27. Mizzou stays aggressive ... briefly. Under pressure, Lock finds Johnson downfield along the sideline, but Johnson can’t find the ball in time.

After another Witter stuff and a false start, Texas sends the house, and Lock has to throw a screen too quickly. Fatony punts from his end zone and gets off a banger. Hemphill-Mapps does a nice job to return it to near midfield. Once again, Mizzou’s defense has bad field position, but at least the Tiger offense took a shot downfield.

11:27. Ehlinger starts the second half for Texas and quickly finds himself in a third-and-6, but Texas’ offensive line absorbs an awkward blitz attempt and Ehlinger hits Johnson for 15 yards to the UT 44. Two plays later, it’s third-and-8, and Anthony Sherrils perfectly breaks up a lob to a well-covered (by Acy) Johnson, and Dickson will punt. Of course, it’s Dickson, so he pins Mizzou at the 14. DON’T GET CONSERVATIVE, JOE JON. RUN YOUR OFFENSE.

14:42. TEXAS 21, MIZZOU 13. THROW DOWNFIELD MORE, PLEASE. On the first play of the second half, Mizzou goes deep, and — shocker — it works. Lock hits Johnson perfectly in stride on a bomb, and he rolls for a 79-yard score. Of course, Mizzou isn’t ready for nice things yet and botches the PAT snap. Still. Good start.

God, that was a gorgeous pass.


Some stats.

Mizzou is plus-19 in yardage despite the incredibly conservative play-calling and bad field position, but the difference has ended up being the two fumbles. They handed Texas seven points and ended a soon-to-be scoring opportunity.

If you’re Mizzou, you have to stay calm and run your offense. You looked good when you did — J’Mon Moore’s caught three of four passes for 38 yards, drew one penalty and should have drawn another. Passes to the tight ends are 3-for-5 for 40 yards. The run game improved at least a hair.

Mizzou averaged 6.1 yards per play to Texas’ 3.6 in the second quarter. This can still turn out well for the Tigers, but they obviously can’t give away any more points.

Second quarter

0:00. Mizzou takes no chances. Three Rountree carries gain 21 yards, and the Tigers go into halftime down 14.

0:59. Things are getting chippy. After Young runs a long way to gain eight yards, Frazier and Young get into a bit of a scuffle, and Young is called for a personal foul. Hall and Harold stop Kyle Porter for a loss of two on second down, and on third-and-19, Beckner and Frazier sack Ehlinger for a short loss. Dickson again punts from the Mizzou 36, and again it works out. It’s downed at the 2. Now it probably isn’t time to take any chances.

3:14. Sigh. Mizzou once again plays it safe, and once again, it does nothing but give Texas good field position. Two Witter carries lose a combined three yards, and on third-and-13, Witter goes nowhere a third time. Hemphill-Mapps returns the ensuing punt to the Mizzou 28.

You might as well try to move the damn ball since Texas is going to end up with good field position either way. Average starting field position: Texas 39.4, Mizzou 17.0. But yeah, stay conservative. That’s working out great.

5:10. Texas wisely tries to pounce on the sudden change. Colin Johnson makes a diving catch from Buechele for a 21-yard gain to the Mizzou 35, but a holding penalty pushes the Horns back from there. Buechele has to throw the ball away on first and second down, and on third-and-20, he scrambles for nine.

When you’ve got Michael Dickson, you use him. Texas punts from the Mizzou 36, and it is of course fair caught at the 6.

6:39. Mizzou starts at the 24 after a shorter kickoff and better return. The Tigers stay on the ground, and Rountree bursts upfield for 17 yards to the 41. Lock goes deep on play-action, but Brandon Jones gets away with a slap to Moore’s head, and the ball falls incomplete.

NCAA Football: Texas Bowl-Texas vs Missouri
No call.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

After a short Rountree carry, Lock fires to Okwuegbunam for a first down ... and he fumbles too. This one bounces into Breckyn Hager’s hands at the UT 44. Good lord.

7:47. TEXAS 21, MIZZOU 7. Mizzou starts with Lock finding Okwuegbunam for a five-yard checkdown, then Witter moves the chains with a nice spin move. Witter gains four more on another variation of a fake jet sweep, then he gains four more on a hurried-up snap.

On third-and-2, Witter picks up the first down, but he’s stripped from behind, and it bounces perfectly into Anthony Wheeler’s hands. Wheeler takes it back 38 yards, and Mizzou’s back down two possessions.

But on the bright side, the Tigers are now outgaining Texas. So they’ve got that going for them.

9:46. Young continues to find success on the edge of the Mizzou defense. Two Young rushes gain 13 yards to start Texas’ drive, but UT goes back to the air for some reason, and two passes to Joe (one complete, one incomplete) gain six yards.

On third-and-4 from the 44, Logan Cheadle tracks Jerrod Heard down for no gain on a shallow cross. Dickson pins Mizzou at the 10. Does the more aggressive play-calling continue with the Tigers backed up again?

12:10. TEXAS 14, MIZZOU 7. Life! We have life! And it comes from the Lock-to-Moore combo.

Mizzou fakes a jet sweep to Johnson, and Lock sidearms a bullet to Moore for 19. He’s 2-for-2 on actual passes downfield. After another short gain by Witter, Lock slings to Moore for 15 yards to the UT 14. 3-for-3.

Texas commits a holding penalty on another pass to Moore, which gives Mizzou a first-and-goal from the 7. It takes Witter two carries to score. This is your offense! It looks good on you!

13:29. Texas starts from its 16, and Jordan Harold makes his second nice play, sacking Buechele on first down to set up second-and-17. Hall eats up a short pass to Johnson, and Young drops a short third-and-long space. Dickson shanks the ensuing punt — his version of a shank, anyway — and Mizzou will start at the 50. The early-Q2 field position battle has certainly gone in the Tigers’ favor.

First quarter

0:00. A jet sweep to Johnson gains four, then Lock finds Kendall Blanton up the seam on an RPO. A good pass would have gone for a TD, but Blanton does manage to haul it in at the Mizzou 39. Already the most successful drive of the night so far.

After a rollout to Blanton falls incomplete, Rountree lowers his head for a four-yard gain, and the quarter ends with Mizzou throwing another third-down screen and coming up short again. This is downright paranoid play-calling.

First-quarter stats:

Maybe the goal is to lull Texas’ defense to sleep and then start going downfield. Better hope they’re not down three scores when they start that.

1:34. A Texas three-and-out. Mizzou needed that. Two rushes gain just three yards thanks to nice plays by Jordan Harold and Kaleb Prewett, and Buechele fires low for Jerod Heard. Of course, Dickson’s got a cannon, and he pins Mizzou back at the 12 again.

2:54. For the second time, Rountree fields a kickoff halfway into the end zone and elects to return it. And for the second time, he comes up short of the 25. Take the free yards, dude.

From the 20, Mizzou quickly goes nowhere. Two Witter carries gain five yards, and then Lock throws a screen over Witter’s head. RUN YOUR DAMN OFFENSE. This is ridiculous. But at least Fatony got a better punt off this time.

3:58. TEXAS 14, MIZZOU 0. Mizzou is down two scores. Ehlinger finds Young in the flat, and he takes off for 42 yards. An Ehlinger keeper gains nine to the Mizzou 4, but Terez Hall and Terry Beckner Jr. stuff a second keeper for a loss of three. On third down, though, Ehlinger rolls left and finds John Burt for a touchdown. Four plays, 55 yards, two-touchdown lead.

Mizzou won’t really have a choice but to actually run its offense now.

5:17. Mizzou is playing things very safe so far. Texas nearly picks off a quick sideline pass to J’Mon Moore, and two Larry Rountree III carries gain a combined three yards. I understand the Tigers have been backed up, but this isn’t this team’s identity, and they’re going to be down two scores pretty soon.

Another Fatony punt is fielded just on Texas’ side of the 50.

6:51. It’s Sam Ehlinger’s turn behind center for UT. Lee, back in the game after injury, blows up a read hand-off to Reggie Hemphill-Mapps for a loss of seven. A dump to tight end Kendall Moore gains 13 back, but on third-and-4, the snap is low, and Marcell Frazier stops him for a loss of three. Mizzou comes after Dickson but can’t get there, and his punt is fair caught at the 9. Yet another long field.

8:44. A short run by Ish Witter and a quick pass to Nate Brown buy some space for Mizzou (or at least, for Fatony), but then another damn false start, this one by Tre’Vour Simms, gives the gains away. On third-and-8, a handoff to Witter comes up two yards short, and Fatony’s second punt isn’t all that much better than his first. Texas will start at its 48.

Total yards so far: UT 49, MU 14. Mizzou also has 49 penalty yards.

10:23. The Texas ground game’s working better than I hoped to see early on. A Buechele keeper gains 10 yards and moves the chains, and Lee stays on the turf afterward. He walks off the turf on his own power after a visit from the trainers.

From the Mizzou 40, Young gains four yards on first down, but a Buechele pass goes through Devin Duvernay’s hands, and Texas finally faces its first third down. Tre Williams hits Buchele as he’s throwing, and Josh Bledsoe nearly picks the ball off.

Michael Dickson’s first punt is downed at the Mizzou 2. Better than them scoring again, I guess.

It’s taken us nearly half an hour to play five minutes, by the way. This game is gonna last till 2 a.m.

12:00. Before Mizzou’s offense can snap the ball for the first time, the Tigers have committed another penalty — this time a Kevin Pendleton false start. And on first-and-15, Ish Witter is swallowed up for no gain. Drew Lock’s first pass bounces off of Albert Okwuegbunam’s hands, and on third-and-15, a quick pass to Johnathan Johnson gains just two yards. And then Corey Fatony’s punt takes a sideways bounce and goes out at the 50.

This game could have started better. Yeesh.

13:28. TEXAS 7, MIZZOU 0. Texas comes out throwing. Lorenzo Joe drops a Shane Buechele pass on the Horns’ first play, but a bomb to Armanti Foreman draws a pass interference penalty on Kaleb Prewett, who never turns around to look for the ball. And after a Daniel Young carry, DeMarkus Acy commits holding on Colin Johnson for another Horns first down. After another solid Young carry, Brandon Lee grabs Foreman’s face mask.

Early penalties don’t really concern me all that much — it’s often just a sign of aggression that will get dialed in a bit better later on — but that was gross. And it’s made worse when Buechele finds Young wide open out of the backfield for a touchdown.

Texas needed to gain only 35 offensive yards to go 75 yards and score.

15:00. Missouri wins the toss and elects to defer. I’m actually a hair surprised by that, but deferring is always the way to go. Texas will get the ball first.


One more go-round, one more chance to keep it rollin’...

It’s Mizzou-Texas! Let’s do this!