Missouri quarterback James Franklin rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 132 yards with another touchdown as the Tigers handled the North Carolina Tar Heels 41-24 to win the Independence Bowl and finish the 2011 season at 8-5.
The Tigers rushed for 337 yards and outgained UNC 513-353, while limiting the Tar Heel rushing attack to just 36 yards. Kendial Lawrence added 108 yards and De’Vion Moore 59 yards on 10 carries.
After the Tigers gave up a touchdown on the Tar Heels opening drive, Mizzou rattled off 31 straight points by scoring on their first five possessions. Just five plays after UNC went up 7-0 on Dwight Jones 22 yard touchdown catch from Bryn Renner, Mizzou went to trickery on a backwards pass from Franklin to T.J. Moe who showed off his QB skills by launching a pass to a wide open Wes Kemp for a 40 yard touchdown.
Two turnovers forced by the Missouri defense helped aid a 17 point second quarter. A late UNC field goal cut the lead to the 31-10 at the half.
UNC added a third quarter score to narrow the Mizzou lead to 31-17 when Renner connected with Jheranie Boyd for a 44 yard score. Moe helped Missouri with a 49 yard kickoff return, longest for the Tigers this season, giving Franklin a short field to work with as he scored his second touchdown of the day off a draw from two yards out to answer UNC’s score.
LaDamian Washington, the Shreveport native caught three passes for 47 yards.
The Tigers turned the ball over once in the game and once earlier in the day during a fan rally. Truman the Tiger grabbed the Independence Bowl trophy and dropped it causing the crystal top to shatter. A local jewelry store came to the rescue and provided a new top to the trophy which looked like a big vase.