The Missouri Tigers beat the visiting Arizona State Sun Devils, 24-20, on Saturday night in Columbia, Mo.,, but once again the Tigers let a large lead slip away late in the game. The Tigers led 24-7 against the Sun Devils, before Arizona State scored twice in the fourth quarter, cutting the deficit to 24-20. A Missouri goal-line interception in the final minute of the game salvaged the win for Gary Pinkel's club.
SB Nation Missouri blog Rock M Nation addressed the issues of the Tigers' late-game fades to start this season, caused mainly by the team's youth:
When You Have A Thin, Brutally Young Team...
...you struggle to play at a consistently decent level for four straight quarters. That's how this works. Gary Pinkel said after the game that this is the youngest team he's ever started, and while I'll take his word for that, it isn't difficult to see not only the young players that were involved, but the young players that have been pushed into larger roles than anybody anticipated.
And oh, has Missouri faded. The Tigers were up, 17-9, early in the third quarter against Georgia, then got outscored, 32-3, the rest of the way. Mizzou was up 24-7 heading into the fourth quarter last night, then got outscored, 13-0, in the final 15 minutes. This team closed consistently strong last year; this year, not so much.
Missouri goes on the road next weekend, when it will face Steve Spurrier and his South Carolina Gamecocks.