I don’t want to get too dramatic over one football game in the middle of the season, but if there is one play that fans look back on after the 2023 season, the touchdown pass thrown by punter Luke Bauer may be the play that saved their season.
Again, a full SEC schedule remains with Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, and even Arkansas who hung tough at Alabama this weekend. Let’s not overlook South Carolina at home this Saturday at 2:30. A lot can happen in the final five games. Still, the reason there is added importance to the remaining schedule comes down to a fake punt that turned the momentum in favor of Mizzou during their 38-21 win over Kentucky.
The Tigers started slow and Wildcats started fast and Mizzou was lined up to punt down 14-0 early in the second quarter when Bauer took the snap and lofted a pass down the sideline for Marquise Johnson who hauled in the pass and went in for a 39-yard touchdown. 14-7 just like as the Tigers outscored Kentucky 38-7 and dominated in all areas of the game to improve to 6-1.
— Mizzou Football (@MizzouFootball) October 15, 2023
Who knows what happens if that pass is incomplete? Maybe the Tigers still rebound, but maybe Kentucky goes down and scores again and blows the game open. What we know for sure is the Mizzou coaching staff knew they needed a spark. It was a desperate move. This wasn’t 4th and 1. This was 4th and 10. Teams usually don’t fake a punt when they need ten yards to gain, but the moment called for a drastic measure. It obviously caught Kentucky off guard, but it took a beautiful pass and catch to still pull it off.
It worked and it may have just kept Missouri’s season alive and perhaps saved Eli Drinkwitz’s future relationship with the fan base.