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How does Missouri — how does Barry Odom — come back from this?

Kentucky v Missouri Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Missouri lost 15-14 to No. 12 Kentucky on a final, un-timed play resulting from a questionable pass interference call.

Missouri lost 15-14 to No. 12 Kentucky because of equally questionable coaching decisions and inexplicable mistakes, most glaringly on special teams.

It can be both.

The pass interference call cost Missouri the game officially. But it was the usual array of offensive struggles and special-teams mistakes that led Missouri down that path to the final, probably incorrect flag. It was the same mistakes and issues we’ve seen time-and-time again when Missouri isn’t playing a blood-bag opponent.

It’s the same mistakes that can turn a fan base.

This game also shows how thin and flukey the line can be between a season-defining win and a program-changing loss. If not for the pass interference call, Missouri’s celebrating a win over the No. 12 team in the country — not an upset win, mind you, as Missouri was favored by a touchdown. But a win nonetheless.

Instead, the questions about Barry Odom and the program over the last three years only intensify. And they’re valid. Because this isn’t about unrealistic expectations for what type of program Missouri is or could be.

This is about the manner in which Missouri loses games.

The South Carolina and Kentucky losses this season were spiritual sequels if not identical twins. In both games, special teams mistakes proved immensely costly in the end. Against the Wildcats, a first-quarter blocked 43-yard field goal attempt cost Missouri three points.

Missouri lost 15-14 to No. 12 Kentucky.

Leading Kentucky 14-3 with under six minutes remaining in the game, Missouri’s sixth-consecutive three-and-out of the second half necessitated a punt. Corey Fatony boomed one; Kentucky returner Lynn Bowden returned it 67 yards for a touchdown.

Missouri lost 15-14 to No. 12 Kentucky.

Leading Kentucky 14-9 with 1:41 remaining, Missouri faced a third-and-2 from its own 26, Drew Lock received the snap and rolled to his right. He threw the ball toward the sideline, uncatchable, and the clock stopped as Missouri prepared to punt it away, its eighth and final three-and-out of the second half complete.

At the time of the play call, Kentucky had one timeout left. A run, whether it resulted in a first down or not, would have burned that timeout. If Lock had slid down instead of forcing a throw, it would have burned that timeout. Instead, Kentucky had one timeout left for its game-winning drive — a sequence that saw Terry Wilson sacked twice, including the final time with nine seconds left. Kentucky used that timeout then.

Two plays later, Kentucky scored, and Missouri lost 15-14 to the No. 12 team in the nation.

That thin line between inspiring win and crushing loss is becoming more common for Missouri, especially this season — what could be a make-or-break year. And all the decisions made against Kentucky that walked that razor-thin line ended on its wrong side.

A week ago against Memphis, Missouri made a near-identical call on fourth-down. Lock rolled right, threw to Jonathon Johnson and Johnson bailed out a bad throw with a great catch. It was a momentum-turning call and Missouri steamrolled Memphis from there.

What appeared to be the same play call on Saturday opened the door for Kentucky’s win. A week ago, it was a good call. On Saturday, it was inexcusable — although Odom defended it afterward.

Missouri’s mistakes and questionable play calls set the stage for that penultimate, controversial officiating decision.

The blame can be shared.