Norman, OK – The Missouri Tigers took their 5-0 record into Norman, Oklahoma, to face the Sooners … and the Tigers led by a point in the 4th quarter. But Missouri couldn’t close the deal, made mistakes that allowed the Sooners to come back, and Oklahoma got by Mizzou 41-31 before 85,041 Saturday night at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on the campus of OU as North played South in a key Big 12 match up.
Mizzou’s defense made its mark on Oklahoma’s first play on offense, forcing a fumble on a Sam Bradford pass completed to Juaquin Iglesias. The fumble was recovered by cornerback Darnell Terrell on the Sooner 38. The Tigers took advantage of the Sooner miscue, driving 38 yards downfield on 6 plays, capping the drive with a 5 yard Jeremy Maclin touchdown run, with Jeff Wolfert’s extra point making it Mizzou 7, Oklahoma 0. It was a drive that included a successful 4th down gamble on the part of the Tigers. On 4th and 1 from the 29, quarterback Chase Daniel completes a 17 yard pass to Will Franklin for the 1st down that kept the drive alive.
On their next series, the Sooners took the ball down the field to what appeared to be a touchdown when Chris Brown caught a pass, was roughed up on the 19 yard line, got away, and ran into the end zone. But the replay showed Brown’s knee had touched the ground and the call was reversed. No problem. The Sooners regrouped and scored as Bradford completed a 4 yard TD pass to Iglesias to cap a 4 play, 64 yard drive. Garrett Hartley’s PAT made it Mizzou 7, Oklahoma 7.
Missouri’s next set of downs was short and not so sweet as Daniel’s 3rd down pass was picked off by Sooner strong safety D.J. Wolfe, who returned the ball to the Tiger 21. This put the pressure on Missouri’s defense and the D proved equal to the task, forcing Oklahoma to settle for a 28 yard field goal by Bradford. The score put the finishing touches on a 4 play, 5 yard drive. The field goal came with :04 to play in the 1st quarter. The quarter ended with Jeremy Macklin returning the kick off to the Oklahoma 44. Nebraska led 10-7 after 1 quarter.
The Tigers failed to take advantage of the short field, giving the back back to the Sooners, who proceeded to drive 86 yards down the field on 7 plays to score a touchdown on a Bradford to Jermaine Grisham 30 yard touchdown pass. Hartley’s extra point made it Oklahoma 17, Missouri 7.
The Tigers then drove down the field to score on the half’s final play – a 19 yard Jeff Wolfert field goal that capped a 9 play, 85 yard drive. The score at the half: Oklahoma 17, Mizzou 10.
The Missouri defense held after the Tigers kicked off to start the 2nd half, but Mizzou failed to take advantage of its first possession, as Daniel threw a pass that was intercepted by Oklahoma cornerback Reggie Smith. Oklahoma then capitalized by driving 56 yards on 9 plays to score a touchdown, whcih was run in by Chris Brown from the 3. The extra point attempt hit the upright and bounced out, so Oklahoma led 23-10.
Missouri’s next drive was successful as the Tigers drove 12 plays in 68 yards, with Jeremy Maclin scoring the major from the 10 yard line. Wolfert’s PAT brought the Tigers to within 6, at 23-17.
Mizzou found a bit of luck it was looking for on the kickoff. Iglesias fumbled for the second time and Missouri recovered for the second time as Connell Davis jumped on the loose ball to give the Tigers the ball at the OU 46. And, Mizzou took full advantage of the opportunity, as Chase Daniel engineered an 8 play, 46 yard touchdown drive that ended with Jimmy Jackson running it in from the 4. Wolfert’s point after touchdown was good, giving Mizzou a 24-23 lead. That’s how the 3rd quarter ended.
Oklahoma regained the lead early in the 4th quarter. Chris Brown scored his second TD of the night on a 1 yard run to put the finishing touches on a 12 play. 66 yard drive. The Sooners went for 2 on the conversion and failed, to kick off with a 29-24 lead.
Missouri gave the Sooners a chance to extend the lead, and they did. Daniel fumbled and the ball was scooped up by linebacker Curtis Lofton, who ran it into the end zone from the 12. A second consecutive 2-point conversion attempt failed and Oklahoma led 35-24.
The reality of the pending loss set in with just over 4 minutes to play in the game when Jeremy Maclin fired a 1st down pass from the 15 into the hands of Sooner Nic Harris at the 24. Chris Brown then capped a 3 play, 24 yard drive with a 17 yard run into the end zone. The conversion failed and Nebraska led 41-24.
While the game might have been out of reach, the Tigers showed they weren’t about to give up as they took the ball from their own 20, scoring the final points of the night as Chase Daniel and Martin Rucker connected on a 5 yard TD pass to cap a 10 play, 80 yard drive. Wolfert’s extra point made it a 10 point game, 41-31, with :12 to play.
An onside kick was recovered by the Sooners, who ran out the clock to end the game and preserve the 41-31 win.
On offense, Mizzou had 418 total yards, compared to 384 for Oklahoma. But the Sooners more than doubled Missouri’s performance on the ground, rushing for 118 yards, compared to only 57 for the Tigers. Turnovers played a key role in the contest. While the Tigers recovered a pair of OU fumbles, they lost a fumble of their own and saw the Sooners pick off 3 Missouri passes.
The Tigers get back into action next Saturday, at Faurot Field in Columbia, when they take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders.