Tigers Lose To Syracuse, Fall To 5-6

The Missouri Tigers missed a great opportunity to become bowl eligible against the Syracuse Orangemen during their final home game of the 2012 season by giving up a late touchdown in the 4th quarter.

On Saturday, the Syracuse Orange (6-5) spoiled Mizzou's Senior Day celebration, and dealt a near-death blow to the Tigers' bowl aspirations with a 31-27 come-from-behind victory over Missouri (5-6).


Syracuse' record-holding senior QB, Ryan Nassib, led the Orange on yet another fourth-quarter comeback, this one on the road against a well-respected Missouri defense, as he teamed up with senior WR Alec Lemon for a game-winning 17-yard pass reception for a TD, to take a 31-27 lead over Missouri with just 20 seconds remaining in the game.  It was Syracuse first lead of the game, and finished off a 7-play 81-yard drive in which four Nassib completions to Lemon accounted for all of the yardage in the drive.

For Syracuse, the win at Missouri makes the Orange bowl-eligible.  The loss leaves Missouri still searching for a sixth win on the season's final week at Texas A&M.

"It's really disappointing" was about all that Coach Pinkel had to say, except to acknowledge that Syracuse played well.

Missouri had gotten off to a quick start when Dorial Green-Beckham took a screen pass from James Franklin on the game's fourth play and went 70 yards for a TD to put the Tigers ahead 7-0.

Syracuse answered with a 44-yard FG to pull to within 7-3 before Franklin found Jimmie Hunt over the middle for a 30-yard TD reception to make it 14-3 Missouri.

Midway through the second quarter, Missouri drove down, and following a pass-interference penaltynear the goal line on what appeared to be a potential TD pass to Green-Beckham, the Tigers had a first and goal inside the 5-yard line.   But Franklin missed connection on successive pass plays into the end zone, and Mizzou settled for an Andrew Baggett 20-yard FG.

Syracuse answered with an 11-play 75-yard drive as Prince-Tyson Gulley took it over from 1 yard out to cut the Missouri lead to 17-10 just before the half.

Syracuse took the second half kick-off and drove to near midfield before their punter came on and pinned Missouri at their own 2-yard line.  Franklin and the Tigers moved the ball out from their own end, then the Tigers returned the favor, pinning the Orange at their own 2-yard line.

The two teams exchanged punts again and the third quarter came to a close with Syracuse moving the ball into Missouri territory.  Early in the fourth quarter, Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib found Alec Lemon matched up out in the flat with Randy Ponder for a 13-yard TD catch and run.  With 14:14 remaining in the game, the score was tied at 17-17.

Missouri moved the ball right back down the field, with Franklin finding Jimmie Hunt for 11 yards, and Kendial Lawrence ripping off runs of 11 and 9 yards.   The Tigers had a second and 9 at the Syracuse 22-yard line, but the Orange defense stiffened, and Baggett missed a 42-yard field goal attempt.

The Missouri defense held, forcing Syracuse to punt, and the Tigers took over at their own 21-yard line.   Franklin had gotten dinged up on the previous failed third down conversion attempt, so Corbin Berkstresser took over at QB.  Berkstresser  and Lawrence teamed up on a 79-yard TD drive with Lawrence taking it over from the 3-yard line, and Missouri led 24-17 with 7:07 remaining in the game.

Jerome Smith took it in from 8 yards out to tie it up at 24-24.

Berkstresser and the Tigers failed to move the football and a poor punt by Trey Barrow set the Orange up near midfield.  Nassib continued to pick on Ponder, but Ponder picked off a tipped pass on the first play of that possession.

Berkstresser and the Tigers took over near midfield, and a completion to Marcus Lucas gave the Tigers a third-and-1 at the Syracuse 25-yard line.  But Lawrence lost yardage trying to get around the edge, and the Tigers had to settle for a 46-yard FG from Baggett, which gave the Tigers a 27-24 lead, but left 1:52 on the clock for Nassib and the Orange.


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