GAMEDAY College Football

Missouri 24, Florida 23

Associated Press

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Missouri quarterback Connor Bazelak heard boos from the home fans as he trotted to the sideline after fruitless drives Saturday. It was nothing but cheers after he lofted a 2-point conversion pass to Daniel Parker Jr. to lift the Tigers to a 24-23 overtime victory over Florida.

"I'm proud of Connor," Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said. "He takes a lot of criticism, he takes a lot of boos, but when we needed him, he stepped up."

The Tigers (6-5, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) drew within a point on Tyler Badie's 13-yard touchdown run, and Drinkwitz elected to go for 2 rather than send the game to a second overtime with a PAT kick.

Last week, Drinkwitz benched Bazelak for the last drive of a victory over South Carolina after he threw his second interception. Missouri fans sounded eager to see backup Brady Cook throughout Saturday's game, but Drinkwitz stuck with Bazelak. The play-action action pass was designed to go to Badie in the right flat, but when he was covered and so was the second option, Bazelak turned to his left and released the pass to Parker just before getting hit.

Bazelak completed 15 of 26 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown. Badie rushed 27 times for 146 yards.

"He showed a lot of grit and passion for the game," Badie said of Bazelak. "He came out victorious, too. The last play, the ball was in his hand and he delivered for our team."

Florida (5-6, 2-6 SEC) got the ball first in overtime, and Emory Jones caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Trent Whittemore on a trick play to give the Gators a brief lead. Jones completed 20 of 32 passes for 261 yards and a touchdown.

"That's our seventh straight loss in one-possession games," Florida coach Dan Mullen said. "That's on us as coaches to create the mental toughness for the guys to make sure we have the right guys in the right position to make a play when the game's on the line."

Missouri entered the game with the nation's 118th-ranked defense, and Florida had yielded 92 points in its last two games. No matter. The defenses dominated in a stingy battle of field position and field goals. Missouri led 9-6 at halftime on three Harrison Mevis field goals.

Florida finally broke the touchdown drought on its first drive of the second half. Jones hit Jacob Copeland on a 49-yard pass to set up a Dameon Pierce 2-yard scoring run. Missouri answered early in the fourth quarter when Bazelak connected with tight end Niko Hea for a 41-yard touchdown.

Missouri missed a chance to take the lead with 1:04 left in regulation when Mevis - who had made 17 of 18 field-goal attempts this season - pushed a 46-yarder wide right. Florida responded by running the ball three straight times and punted. Mullen said he called a draw on first down to take advantage of Missouri playing the pass, but when Nay'Quan Wright slipped in the backfield and lost 4 yards, he opted to run out the clock rather than throw the ball.

In overtime, Drinkwitz opted to put faith in his quarterback to win the game.

"Everybody has the right to their express their opinions," Drinkwitz said, acknowledging the booing of Bazelak, who has thrown 10 interceptions this season. "These young men are playing as hard as they possibly can. They're not perfect. None of us are. The No. 1 quarterback requirement is: Ignore the noise. You can have one of the worst games you ever had, but with two minutes left, you've got to be a rock and you've got to believe in yourself. Connor's doing that."


Scoring Summary
First Quarter FlaMissou
Fla FG 9:49 Chris Howard 42 yd FG 3 0
Missou FG 2:40 Harrison Mevis 39 yd FG 3 3
Second Quarter FlaMissou
Fla FG 9:35 Chris Howard 26 yd FG 6 3
Missou FG 6:56 Harrison Mevis 46 yd FG 6 6
Missou FG 1:34 Harrison Mevis 31 yd FG 6 9
Third Quarter FlaMissou
Fla TD 12:52 Dameon Pierce 2 yd run (Chris Howard kick) 13 9
Fourth Quarter FlaMissou
Missou TD 11:53 Niko Hea 41 yd pass from Connor Bazelak (Harrison Mevis kick) 13 16
Fla FG 8:30 Chris Howard 33 yd FG 16 16
OT FlaMissou
Fla TD   Emory Jones 6 yd pass from Trent Whittemore (Chris Howard kick) 23 16
Missou TD   Tyler Badie 13 yd run (Daniel Parker Jr. 2pt pass from Connor Bazelak) 23 24
Team Stats
  Florida Missouri
First downs 17 17
  Rushing 5 7
  Passing 11 6
  Penalty 1 4
3rd Down Efficiency 5-18, 28% 4-16, 25%
4th down efficiency 2-2, 100% 0-0, -%
Rushes-Yards 38-93 36-121
Passing Yards 267 165
Return Yards 28 59
Completions-Attempts-Int 21-33-0 15-26-0
Sacks-Yards Lost 2--18 5--24
Punts 8 7
Punts-Average 38.6 39.7
Fumbles Lost 2-0 0-0
Penalties - Yards 9-80 4-27
Time of Possession 32:07 27:53
Florida Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
E. Jones 20 32 261 0 0
T. Whittemore 1 1 6 1 0
Missouri Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
C. Bazelak 15 26 165 1 0
Florida Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
E. Jones 17 45 2.6 0
N. Wright 8 22 2.8 0
M. Davis 6 19 3.2 0
D. Pierce 7 7 1.0 1
Missouri Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
T. Badie 27 146 5.4 1
E. Young 1 -5 -5.0 0
C. Bazelak 7 -19 -2.7 0
Florida Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
J. Copeland 8 102 12.8 0
M. Davis 4 46 11.5 0
T. Whittemore 1 45 45.0 0
K. Gamble 3 33 11.0 0
J. Shorter 2 22 11.0 0
X. Henderson 2 13 6.5 0
E. Jones 1 6 6.0 1
Missouri Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
T. Dove 2 72 36.0 0
N. Hea 3 68 22.7 1
B. Banister 3 15 5.0 0
K. Chism 1 7 7.0 0
D. Smith 1 3 3.0 0
D. Lovett 2 2 1.0 0
T. Badie 3 -2 -.7 0
Florida Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Missouri Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Florida Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
J. Crawshaw 8 309 38.6
Missouri Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
G. McKinniss 7 278 39.7
Florida Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
X. Henderson 3 14 4.7
J. Weston 1 14 14.0
Missouri Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
D. Smith 1 5 5.0
Florida Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
Missouri Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
E. Young 2 54 27.0
Florida Missed FG
Player Length
Missouri Missed FG
Player Length
H. Mevis 46




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