Home College Missouri Runs Over Minnesota, Wins Citrus Bowl 33-17

Missouri Runs Over Minnesota, Wins Citrus Bowl 33-17


(Photo Credit: Ryan Leopando- Arch City Sports)

2015 started off on a high note for Gary Pinkel and the Missouri Tigers football team as they won their third straight bowl game defeating Minnesota 33-17 in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl.

After Minnesota elected to defer the Tigers started out with the ball, however it wasn’t a pretty start for Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk. The Tigers first two drives ended with Mauk throwing an interception, one to Derrick Wells and another to Briean Boddy-Calhoun.

Minnesota capitalized on the second of the pair as Gopher quarterback Matt Leidner led Minneosta on an 11-play 80-yard drive that ended with a 20-yard touchdown run from Rodrick Williams Jr. The touchdown gave the Golden Gophers a 7-0 lead.

Later the Tigers were given excellent field position and nearly punched it in from inside the Minnesota five-yard line, but the Gopher defense held strong. Andrew Baggett came on and connected on a 21-yard field goal attempt to give Missouri its first points of the game 7-3.

On their next possession Mauk settled in and found the Tigers top receiver Bud Sasser in the end zone to put Missouri on top 10-7. Sasser finished the day with 68 yards receiving and two touchdowns.

At the break the Tigers led 10-7.

In the second half coach Pinkel continued his trickery with an on-side kick, which was recovered by Missouri. Though the drive stalled following a pair of big gains by Marcus Murphy,Baggett stayed perfect hitting his second field goal of the afternoon to extend the Tigers lead to 13-7.

Minnesota responded on its next drive as tight end Maxx Williams stole the spotlight with the highlight of the game. Leidner completed a pass to Williams and then the big man went to work. Williams hurled not one, but two Missouri defensive backs and scored to push the Gophers back out front 14-13.

Following a three and out on their ensuing drive the Tigers recovered a muffed punt by Marcus Jones. Mauk would eventually use his legs (and his shoulder) to bulldoze his way through the Gopher defense and into the end zone stretching Missouri’s lead to 19-14 following a failed two-point conversion.

The nail in the coffin came in the fourth quarter when Russell Hansbrough busted out for a 78-yard touchdown run to give the Tigers a 27-14 edge. The Hansbrough touchdown made up for Murphy’s touchdown punt return that was negated for a illegal block in the back.

The Tigers added on as Mauk found Sasser for his second score of the game to push the Missouri lead to the eventual final score of 33-17.

The Tigers took care of business come crunch time as they so often do. The dynamic duo of Hansbrough and Murphy took over in the second half to help secure the Tiger victory. Hansbrough had 114 yards and a touchdown, while Murphy registered an impressive 157 yards himself.

The ground and pound attack seemed to drain the Minnesota defense, who started the game hot with the pair of picks. Despite being banged up in the second half following his touchdown run, Mauk was able to finish the game with two touchdowns and 97 yards through the air and 38 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

The defense and special teams each played an excellent game as well. The defense led by Markus Golden kept the speedy David Cobb in check and only allowed the Gophers to amass 106 yards on the ground. Golden, who was named the Citrus Bowl MVP, finished the day with 10 tackles, a sack, and a fumble recovery.

With the victory the Tigers finish their season with an impressive 11-3 record and will look to top that next year. Though some faces won’t be on the Missouri sideline next year as 21 seniors will or have already graduated with others such as Shane Ray likely entering the NFL draft. Additionally the Tigers will be without defensive coordinator Dave Steckel, who is moving on to become the new head coach at Missouri State.

Though there is much anticipation about what the future holds for the Missouri Tigers as they continue to make noise and cement themselves and one of the SEC’s top teams. Missouri already has a formidable recruiting class highlighted by Lee Summit quarterback Drew Lock and four-star running backs Chase Abbington, Marquise Doherty, and Natereace Strong.

Tiger fans have plenty to be excited about moving forward, but for now enjoy the Citrus Bowl victory.

For more Missouri Tiger updates follow @NickYahl on Twitter

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