The Tigers got off to a red-hot start offensively, scoring 14 points in the first quarter of play. Following the opening kickoff, quarterback Blaine Gabbert engineered a 10 play, 69-yard drive, capped by running back De'Vion Moore's 3-yard scoring plunge.
As it would for most of the day, the Kansas offense sputtered in response. Once again given the reigns following his return from a shoulder injury suffered more than a month ago, redshirt freshman quarterback Jordan Webb was sacked twice in the Jayhawks' first three plays of the game.
Pressured consistently by a relentless Missouri pass rush throughout the day, Webb failed to find a rhythm at any point during the game – going 7-for-20 passing for 45 yards and throwing a pair of interceptions.
Following Kansas' initial three-and-out, the Tigers wasted no time in putting another touchdown on the board, this time punctuated by a two-yard run from offensive utility man T.J. Moe.
Down 14-0 and still in the first quarter, the Jayhawks did show some fight on the ensuing possession, driving 52 yards on 12 plays, only to have senior placekicker Jacob Branstetter hook a 42-yard field goal slightly to the left.
And the Tigers didn't take their foot off the gas. On their opening drive of the second quarter, running back Kendial Lawrence broke free on a 31-yard scoring run to give Missouri a three-touchdown lead – a margin that held heading into the half.
"I still felt confident going into the half with (a) 21-0 (lead) that we could come back and win the football game," said Kansas head coach Turner Gill. Our guys responded with an interception and our guys came back and scored, but again, offensively we weren't able to make enough plays."
To their credit, the Kansas defense stiffened in the final two quarters of play, and the offense did show signs of life. Jayhawks defenders intercepted Gabbert twice, and the running game – behind the powerful legs of freshman James Sims – began to produce.
In truth, Sims has been one of the lone bright spots for Gill's squad this season, and that held true Saturday. The talented freshman carried 21 times for 83 yards and a touchdown, while having another long scamper called back for a holding penalty early in the fourth quarter.
Without strong quarterback play, however, Sims and the other Kansas backs were unable to shoulder the load of the comeback on their own. Webb was knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter with a concussion, and backup Quinn Mecham – the starter in each of the past four games in Webb's absence – promptly threw an interception of his own.
The Tigers tacked on a pair of second-half scoring drives, culminated by a 1-yard QB sneak from Gabbert and a 5-yard run from Moore respectively.
The loss drops the Jayhawks to 3-9 on the season, putting an end to the first year of the Turner Gill era in Lawrence, Kan.
"Our guys improved every single day and every single week," Gill said, after the game. "And we just need to go continue to move forward from that. We have a lot of plusses that we can take from this and continue to move forward in the off-season, recruiting and also next season."