The Missouri Tigers gained 140 yards on two touchdown runs in the first quarter, then gained just 215 the rest of the game, as Texas Tech quarterback Taylor Potts rallied the Red Raiders to a 24-17 win over the Tigers on Saturday night in Lubbock. The loss drops Missouri to 7-2 on the season.
Gary Pinkel wanted the Tigers to establish their running and they did in the first few minutes of the game. On the third play from scrimmage, Marcus Murphy went 69 yards for a touchdown off an option pitch from Blaine Gabbert to put Missouri on top 7-0 less than two minutes into the game. On the Tigers second play of their third possession, Kendial Lawrence peeled off a 71 yard run to put Mizzou up 14-0 with 8:36 to play in the first quarter. Mizzou ended up with 243 yards rushing in the first half, their highest rushing total all season, but could only manage another field goal the rest of the way.
Meanwhile, Texas Tech struggled offensively with Steven Sheffield in at quarterback who was making his first start of the year over Potts. Down 17-3 with just over five minutes left in the half, Potts came in the game and led Tech on a 16 play, 82 yard drive that ended with a 8 yard touchdown pass to Detron Lewis with :15 left in the 2nd quarter.
At the start of the third quarter, Potts kept the Tech offense rolling opening with a six play, 70 yard drive and his second TD pass, this one to Lyle Leong for 16 yards to tie the game at 17. After a three and out by Missouri, the Tigers punted and a penalty backed Tech up deep inside their 10, but Potts but together a 92 yard drive finishing it off with another TD pass to Leong. It was Leong’s second TD of the game, both coming in one on one coverage against Carl Gettis.
In those three TD drives, Potts went 16 for 18 for 149 yards in a span of 8:43. Potts finished the game 19 of 28 for 188 yards. On Tech’s next drive, Potts was picked off at the Missouri two yard line by Zaviar Gooden keeping it a seven point game after again Tech had no trouble moving against the Tigers’ defense.
Meanwhile, I’m not sure where Blaine Gabbert and the passing game went tonight? Tech came into this game ranked 119th out of 120 teams in pass defense and left Gabbert looking flustered as he finished just 12 of 30 for 95 yards. There were numerous times the Tigers took shots deep down the field and Gabbert over threw receivers. On one third down incompletion, Gabbert missed T.J. Moe and the two were jawing at each other on the sideline over what appeared to be miscommunication on the route.
The Tigers were just 1 of 12 on third down attempts. After the 243 rushing yards in the first half, the Tigers finished with a total of 17 rushing yards in the second half as the offense just disappeared, gaining just 71 total yards in the final two quarters.