Missouri can’t handle No. 24 Mississippi State, falls 31-13
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri found the end zone for the first time in four games, but was outmatched by Dak Prescott and No. 24 Mississippi State’s high-powered offense in a 31-13 loss Thursday night.
Russell Hansbrough’s 14-yard touchdown run with 1:50 remaining in the first half cut the score to 14-13, but Missouri did not score again. The touchdown was Hansbrough’s first of the season and the Tigers’ first touchdown since the third quarter of a 24-10 victory against South Carolina on Oct. 3.
Kentrell Brothers blocked a punt for Missouri that was recovered at the Bulldogs’ 25-yard line by Brandon Lee, setting up one of Andrew Baggett’s two field goals. Baggett is now 20 points shy of the all-time school scoring record.
Brothers said the Bulldogs wore down Missouri’s defense.
“They got the best of us, that’s for sure,” said Brothers, who finished with 14 tackles. “I think we got a little tired. When you get frustrated, a lot of things can happen.”
Brothers also forced a fumble with 4:44 remaining in the first quarter that set up Baggett’s first field goal. Terry Beckner Jr., who was added to the starting lineup at game time in place of Rickey Hatley, recovered the fumble.
Prescott threw for four touchdowns and Mississippi State got 100-yard receiving games from De’Runnya Wilson and Fred Ross.
The Bulldogs kicked it into gear after a heavy downpour stopped at halftime, turning a one-point game into a runaway with a 17-point third quarter that included two of Prescott’s TD throws.
Wilson had two touchdown receptions and Ross and Fred Brown had one each for Mississippi State (7-2, 3-2 Southeastern Conference), which has won four in a row to stay in contention in the SEC West. The Bulldogs pulled away without left tackle Rufus Warren, who injured his left leg late in the first half.
Wilson caught four passes for 102 yards with scores of 28 and 5 yards. The first was set up by Brandon Holloway’s 69-yard kickoff return and the second by Wilson’s 63-yard reception. Ross had 11 catches for 115 yards.
Rain couldn’t stop the Bulldogs and Prescott, and neither could Missouri’s defense, which entered the game allowing only 12.5 points per game.
“I think it was a lot of breakdowns on our end,” Missouri linebacker Michael Scherer said. “I think it’s just tough for a lot of us because we made a lot of mistakes.”
Prescott became the 10th player in SEC history with 10,000 yards of total offense after entering the game needing just 65. He was 27 for 40 for 303 yards and led the Bulldogs in rushing with 47 yards on 14 carries.
Freshman quarterback Drew Lock has been the starter throughout the losing streak and was 11 of 26 for 107 yards and sacked five times. Maty Mauk, who began the year as the starter, was suspended for the second time this season on Sunday for violation of team policies.
The Tigers are in the midst of a four-game losing streak for the first time since 2004. They finished with a season-high 215 rushing yards on 45 carries. Ish Witter had 81 yards on 12 carries and Hansbrough finished with 62 yards on 16 carries. Reserve Tyler Hunt had a 35-yard reception and a 72-yard run, finishing with 86 yards rushing.
The attendance of 58,878 was Missouri’s worst this season, dragged down by the school’s struggles and the stormy conditions.
Mississippi State opened fast. Ross was wide open on a 36-yard catch to cap the opening drive of 62 yards on four plays in 42 seconds, but the Bulldogs didn’t score again until Wilson’s 28-yard grab midway through the second quarter made it 14-6.
Both teams had last weekend off.