Missouri Outlasts Memphis to Conclude Non-Conference Play

Photo Cred: The Kansas City Star

Missouri scored 10 points in the fourth quarter to secure a 34-27 victory over American Athletic Conference opponent Memphis at the Dome in America’s Center in St. Louis. The Missouri Tigers are 4-0 for the first time since 2013. 

MU Needed the Fourth Quarter to Hold On

Both teams put up 10 points in the fourth quarter. Every time Missouri started to pull away, Memphis came roaring back.

Missouri and Memphis exchanged field goals to begin the final quarter. MU kicker Harrison Mevis, who successfully converted two field goal attempts, made a 32-yarder to give Missouri a 27-17 lead. UofM redshirt junior Tanner Gillis, who filled in at the kicker position for the injured Seth Morgan and Tristian Vandenberg, also made both of his field goal attempts. One of them was for a 22-yarder with a little over five minutes remaining.

In the following possession, Kirby Moore’s offense responded. Running back Cody Schrader ran for eight yards to secure a first down into Memphis territory. On the very next play, the senior rushed for a 37-yard touchdown, extending the Missouri Tigers’ lead to 34-20 with 2:46 left in the game.

Memphis 27-34 Missouri (24 Sep, 2023) Game Recap - ESPN (AU)

Photo Cred: ESPN

UofM didn’t back down, as quarterback Seth Henigan made a couple of quick, significant plays. The junior completed a 15-yard pass to wide receiver Roc Taylor, placing them in Mizzou territory. A few plays later, Henigan connected with WR Tauskie Dove, a former Missouri Tiger, for 12 yards. With just over a minute remaining, the QB found WR Koby Drake in the endzone to cut the Missouri Tigers’ lead to 34-27.

WR Luther Burden III, who led Missouri WRs with 177 yards on 10 receptions, recovered the onside kick with 1:20 left in the game. Schrader rushed for a first down, which sealed the game for MU as the clock began to wind down.

Multiple Impressive Performances for Missouri

QB Brady Cook recorded his second straight game with 300 or more passing yards. The junior finished with 341 yards and two touchdowns. Cook’s first touchdown came in Missouri’s first offensive possession of the game, with a 47-yard pass to WR Marquis Johnson. The QB also found WR Theo Wease Jr. in the endzone to give the Missouri Tigers a 24-10 lead in the third quarter.

MU’s ground attack also delivered a strong performance on Saturday. RBs Nathaniel Peat and Schrader each scored a touchdown. Peat led the way with 123 yards on 14 carries, while Schrader finished with 65 yards on 15 carries.

Cook, Burden shine as hometown heroes in Mizzou Football's win over Memphis  - Rock M Nation

Photo Cred: Rock M Nation

The WR core for MU was effective during Saturday’s matchup. In addition to Burden, Mookie Cooper also had a solid performance. He finished with 53 yards, including a 24-yard reception in the fourth quarter. Wease played a key role in Missouri’s offensive success with 29 yards and a touchdown. Along with the touchdown, he caught a seven-yard pass from Cook in the second quarter to advance into Memphis territory. 

Blake Baker’s defense came up big when necessary. MU had two interceptions from defensive backs Kris Abrams-Draine and Marcus Clarke. Abrams-Draine recorded his second interception of the season by picking off Henigan in the third quarter, while Clarke came up with a pick on fourth down in the red zone to start the fourth quarter. Missouri sacked Henigan three times in the game. Defensive linemen Johnny Walker Jr. and Darius Robinson, along with linebacker Chad Bailey, each contributed one sack. Abrams-Draine led Mizzou’s defense with seven total tackles, all of which were solo. LB Ty’Ron Hopper also put up seven tackles (three solo). 

Memphis Kept Fighting

UofM gave Missouri all it could handle, battling throughout the entire game. Henigan finished with 316 yards and two touchdowns. The junior’s first touchdown came in the first quarter. A three-yard touchdown pass to WR Joseph Scates gave the Memphis Tigers a 10-7 lead.

Memphis’ WR corps was also potent during Saturday’s game. Taylor led UofM in receiving with 143 yards on seven receptions. The WR came up with multiple big plays, such as a 33-yard reception in the third quarter. RB Blake Watson was a strong contributor to UofM’s offense as a receiver. He amassed nine receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown with just over four minutes left in the third quarter, reducing the Memphis Tigers’ deficit to 24-17. WR Demeer Blankumsee also recorded 36 yards on seven receptions.

Game Highlights: Missouri 34, Memphis 27 Football (September 23, 2023) -  YouTube

Photo Cred: YouTube- American Athletic Conference

Matt Barnes’ defense had some strong contributions throughout the contest. LB Geoffery Cantin-Arku forced Schrader to fumble at Missouri’s own 10-yard line, with DL William Whitlow Jr. recovering the ball. The fumble eventually led to UofM’s first touchdown of the game. Memphis’ defense sacked Cook twice, with LB Cincir Evans and DL Keveion’ta Spears each having one. DBs Greg Rubin and Cameron Smith played prominent roles for the Memphis Tigers’ defense on Saturday. Rubin tallied eight total tackles (five solo) and Smith had seven tackles (six solo). 

Looking Ahead

Missouri will aim to continue its winning streak as it heads to Nashville, Tennessee next Saturday to take on Vanderbilt at 3 P.M. at FirstBank Stadium, with the broadcast on SEC Network.

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