Following an early season loss to Kentucky, it was clear that for Mizzou to keep the positive momentum under Drinkwitz going, this was a pivotal game.
The Tigers came out playing like it at the start. The opening drive saw Mizzou go for it on fourth and one and convert off a tipped pass. That fortunate deflection was followed by a touchdown pass from Connor Bazelak to Barrett Banister two plays later.
The defense then responded in suit, with Shawn Robinson securing his second career interception on the first offensive play from Boston College.
Then, the special teams joined in on the fun, pinning Boston College at the 2-yard line thanks to another great punt from Grant McKinnis, who has started out the season showing why he was placed on the Ray Guy Award Watchlist.
However, some poor tackling resulted in a 67-yard touchdown run for Boston College on the next drive to tie things up at 7 apiece.
An efficient drive from Bazelak highlighted by a flea flicker to Tauskie Dove set up Missouri inside the ten, and Badie proceeded to push his way into the end zone to regain the lead.
That impressive Boston College offensive line, featuring a couple future high NFL draft picks, continued to do whatever they wanted against the Mizzou front seven. Run after run after run came at the Tigers, and it resulted in a tie game to start the second quarter.
After a couple of rare defensive stops, Bazelak led a lengthy drive, peppering the ball to different targets all over the field. The drive stalled inside the ten, though, as Badie was forced backwards on multiple runs. Harrison Mevis stayed perfect on the year to make the score 17-14 midway through the second quarter.
The Eagles would mount a drive thanks to an explosive pass play to convert a 3rd and long, but a sack from Blaze Alldredge and a host of Mizzou defenders would force BC to settle for a field goal to tie the game up at the half.
Through the first half, the themes of the season for Missouri continued. Bazelak and Badie were leading an efficient and balanced attack, but the run defense was again being diced up. The Eagles have one of the best offensive lines Mizzou will see, but the Tigers will not win many games if they keep getting pushed around like this. BC had 123 rushing yards on 8.2 yards per carry in the first half.
Out of the halftime break, nothing changed. The Eagles came out and set the tone with a drive that lasted over six minutes to go up 24-17.
Missouri’s response was not encouraging. Bazelak underthrew Barrett Banister for his second interception of the year, and all the momentum shifted in Boston College’s favor.
Boston College quarterback Dennis Grosel began to really hurt Missouri with his legs in the second half, as he scrambled for multiple first downs including a key 4th down conversion to keep their next drive alive. That was another long drive that lasted until nearly the end of the third quarter. Bazelak and the offense were on the field for one drive that lasted 38 seconds during the third, and were down 27-17 at the end of the quarter.
Things began to shift at the start of the fourth quarter, as Bazelak linked up with Tauskie Dove to convert a 3rd and long. Potentially was the biggest play of the game for the Tigers up to that point, as it really stopped the bleeding of from the previous quarter.
Michael Cox punched in a score from one yard out to cut the lead for the Eagles down to three.
The Tiger defense stepped up in response, as they got pressure on Grosel on two straight plays to force a 3-and-out.
The next drive was all Tyler Badie. He made a great catch on a third and nine that kept the drive alive, and then got two cracks at the end zone inside the ten and converted the second one. The scoreline now read 31-27, in favor of Missouri.
Boston College did not back down, however. The Eagles drove down the field yet again, scoring an emphatic touchdown (shocker: on the ground) to go up 34-31 with under 30 seconds left.
Badie opted for a fair catch with plenty of room to run on the kickoff, starting the offense out from the 25 on their final drive. Bazelak slightly overthrew Banister on a potentially game-changing throw, but completed the next one to get the Tigers out to midfield with 11 seconds left. Chism ripped a throw away from a defender to get another first down, and Banister set Mevis up for a 56-yard attempt that would tie the game as time expired.
“I’m usually the first one to know if it is good or not,” Mevis said. “Based on contact, I kinda knew.”
To overtime we went, as Mevis yet again solidified himself as one of the premier kickers in the nation.
Grossel then linked up with his favorite target, Zay Flowers, for a touchdown to start off the overtime period, and Bazelak threw a risky ball into triple coverage that got picked off on the first play of Mizzou’s series, sealing the loss for the Tigers.
It was another game in which Mizzou fought back from a double-digit lead in the second half, but another game in which they came up just short. The offense was solid yet again, but lacked a consistent presence from Tyler Badie like we become accustomed to in recent games. With the defense, it was more of the same issues that have been present in every game this year— no gap integrity, poor tackling, and just overall being pushed around too much. If Bazelak never has the ball (like what happened in the third quarter) because the other team controls the time of possession, then this offense will not find a rhythm. The Eagles had 275 yards on the ground, and held the ball for over 34 minutes of game time, dominating the second half in that aspect.
“It’s about us,” Drinkwitz said in the postgame. “It isn’t about anyone else right now.”
Missouri will take on Tennessee next Saturday at Faurot Field at 11:00am on the SEC Network.