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By: Scott Crumbly
SEC Digital Network
COLUMBIA, Mo. – It was senior night for 18 Tigers on Saturday night, but Missouri was unable to pick up a win against Syracuse, falling 31-27 in heartbreaking fashion. Clinging to a three-point lead, Mizzou (5-6, 2-5 SEC) was unable to stop a seven-play, 81-yard march from the Orange that was cabbed by a 17-yard touchdown from Ryan Nassib to Alec Lemon with just 20 seconds to play.
Mizzou quarterback James Franklin started off well, connecting on two long touchdown passes in the first quarter. Franklin hit Dorial Green-Beckham for a 70-yard score not even two minutes into the game, and found Jimmie Hunt for a 30-yard score several minutes later. Prince-Tyson Gulley would bring Syracuse (6-5, 4-2 Big East) within a touchdown with his 1-yard scoring run late in the second, and the score was 17-10 Tigers at the break.
Things swung in Syracuse’s favor after the half, however, and three Orange touchdowns proved to be the difference in the final two quarters. A Kendial Lawrence touchdown run and an Andrew Baggett field goal in the fourth gave Missouri the lead with just 1:52 to play, but the Orange responded with their game winning drive to doom the Tigers.
Both signal-callers found success, as Franklin threw for 279 yards and a pair of scores and Nassib approached the 400-yard mark while throwing two touchdowns as well. Nassib found wide-out Alec Lemon 12 times on the evening for an astounding 244 yards and two scores against the Mizzou defense.
Lawrence went over the 100-yard mark in his final home game, rounding out the evening with 119 yards and a score on 27 touches. Mizzou will have one more chance to obtain bowl eligibility when it travels to face Texas A&M next weekend in College Station.
Passing – James Franklin, 17-for-23, 279 yards, 2 TD
Rushing – Kendial Lawrence, 27 car, 119 yards, TD
Receiving – Dorial Green-Beckham, 2 rec, 79 yards, TD
Passing – Ryan Nassib, 26-for-40, 385 yards, 2 TD, INT
Rushing – Prince-Tyson Gulley, 15 car, 53 yards, TD
Receiving – Alec Lemon, 12 rec, 244 yards, 2 TD
• The loss to Syracuse snapped an 18-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents for Missouri, which dated back to 2005.
• Mizzou head coach Gary Pinkel is 25-3 now in home non-conference games since taking over in 2001.
• Mizzou needs a win next week at TAMU to preserve an eight-year bowl streak, which is a school record.