COLUMBIA – Down 28-21 with 43 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Missouri faced a fourth and 12 on Tennessee's 25 yard line. Tiger quarterback James Franklin stepped back and threw a pass to freshman receiver Dorial Green-Beckham who was able to keep his toes just inbounds to tie the game and force overtime. In the four-overtime periods thriller, the Tigers were able to hold on to a 51-48 victory against the Volunteers. The victory put the Tigers record at 5-5 overall and 2-5 in the Southeastern Conference.
The Tigers would not have been able to pull off the victory without some help from some of its youngest players. Star recruit Green-Beckham displayed some of that potential by scoring two touchdowns against Tennessee. Ian Simon, another freshman, came into the game when E.J. Gaines went out with an injury. In the fourth overtime with Tennessee starring down a fourth and four, Simon tipped the pass from Tennessee Quarterback Tyler Bray. The play set the Tigers up for a game winning field goal by freshman kicker Andrew Baggett.
What are others saying
Franklin threw four touchdowns in a game that started off looking like his four interception performance against Florida last week. Throughout the game, Franklin improved his accuracy and was able to lead the Tigers to victory. Bill Connelly wrote in the Missouri Blog Rock M Nation, "he just got better, and better, and better as the game progressed yesterday, and he deserves an epic amount of credit for that."
As important as this game was for the Tigers to reach a bowl game, the result will most likely have major implications for Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley. Jeff Gordon wrote in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Dooley would most likely need to beat the Tigers, as well as win his last two games, to avoid being fired. The loss will leave Dooley on a very hot seat in a conference that has already seen one coach, Kentucky's Joker Phillips, get fired this season.
Missouri forward Laurence Bowers defends SIU-Edwardsville guard Kris Davis on Saturday at Mizzou Arena. Bowers was the leading scorer in the game with 20 points. Photo by Alyssa Goodman/Missourian
It seemed that starting slow was the theme of Missouri sports on Saturday. In the Missouri Men's basketball season opener, the No. 15 Missouri Tigers went into halftime with a slim six point lead over the vastly inferior SIU-Edwardsville. Missouri came out much stronger in the second half on the shoulders of senior forward Laurence Bowers, who finished the game with 20 points and seven rebounds. His second half performance propelled Missouri to an 83-69 victory.
The season opener for the Missouri women's basketball team also had a shaky start. In a game where the St. Louis University Billikans went to the free throw line eight times in the first half, the Tigers were still able to beat the Billikans 67-51. Missouri coach Robin Pingeton was clearly agitated with the number of fouls her team committed and said, "We're putting those officials in a position where they're seeing something. So we've got to clean it up on our end. That's absolutely 100 percent our responsibility. They're going to call the game the way they see it."
High school football
Hickman High School ended its season in a difficult game against Francis Howell in the Class 6, District 3 championship Friday night. The first five Hickman drives either ended in a punt or a fumble. In the first five drives, the Francis Howell team was able to take a 28-0 lead and seal the victory before Hickman had a chance to recover. The final score was 45-0. The Kewpies finished the season with a 9-2 record, including two victories over rival Rock Bridge.