Missouri could not have imagined losing to Auburn in the manner that it did Saturday afternoon.
It was bad enough that kicker Harrison Mevis, one of the nation’s most accurate kickers last season, missed a chip-shot field goal that would’ve won it for MU in regulation. Instead, the teams went to overtime.
When Nathaniel Peat fumbled while going into the end zone on what would have been the game-clinching touchdown run, Missouri had its heart ripped out for a second time Saturday.
Here are five takeaways from Auburn’s 17-14 victory:
What the ....
Peat had played a superb game. He had been a workhorse for the Tigers, and his final attempt took him over 100 yards (117) for the game.
But it appeared he tried to reach the ball out just short of the goal line. The ball slipped out of his hands and into the end zone. It was recovered by Derick Hall in the end zone. A replay upheld the call.
Touchback for Auburn, end of the game. Brutal.
Do you remember the flea-kicker loss to Nebraska in 1997? Add this to the list of bad bounces against the Tigers.
The first blown opportunity
How in the world did Mevis miss that piece-of-cake field goal at the end of regulation?
He came into this season as one of the nation’s most highly regarded kickers after a 2021 campaign in which he had but two misses. A year ago, Mevis was 23 of 25 on field goals and made all 41 of his extra points.
But his miss from 26 yards on the final play of regulation Saturday was his third errant field goal this season.
Auburn made a field goal to open overtime after the hosts’ kicker, Andres Carlson, got a second chance. He’d missed a 44-yarder initially, but Missouri was ruled offsides on that attempt.
Lining up for try No. 2, Carlson made what proved to be the game-winner from 39 yards out.
Ty’Ron Hopper’s great game: wasted
Mizzou linebacker Ty’Ron Hopper was the best player on the field Saturday.
After getting burned by Robby Ashford keepers early, Hopper kept an eye on the Auburn quarterback the rest of the way and held him in check. On one third-quarter play, Hopper flew across the field to chase down Ashford short of the first-down stick.
Hopper finished with 10 tackles, including three for losses, and a sack. His barely missed an interception just before halftime. He was the first to running back Tank Bigsby on a fourth-and-1 with 90 seconds remaining.
The play gave Missouri the final possession in regulation.
Missouri defense tightened up
Auburn had rotated quarterbacks in its three previous games this season. But injuries thinned the Tigers’ ranks this week, and only Ashford played on Saturday.
He got off to a terrific start, leading Auburn to touchdowns on its two first drives, the second coming after MU’s Brady Cook tossed an interception.
But Missouri’s defense tightened up. The Tigers in black and gold bottled up Ashford the rest of the half, forcing punts, and MU capitalized on offense with touchdowns on successive possessions. The first was an excellent play-call and execution: Cook made a perfect pitch on an option left to Cody Schrader, who was untouched on a 9-yard run.
MU got break before halftime
Auburn put itself in position to take the halftime lead and couldn’t do it.
After the visiting Tigers made it 14-14 on Cook’s 1-yard fourth-down keeper with 30 seconds left, Auburn used a couple of Ashford keepers to move to the 33. But Carlson’s 50-yard field-goal try sailed wide.
Mizzou’s Isaiah McGuire had jumped offsides, though, so Carlson got another shot, this time from 45 yards. But he missed again, preserving the tie and giving Mizzou a halftime boost into the locker room.