The Missouri Tigers missed their best chance at bowl eligibility Saturday, as Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib engineered a fourth-quarter comeback victory over the Tigers. Nassib finished the day 26-40 for a staggering 385 yards and two scores, throwing the game-winning touchdown pass to Alec Lemon with 20 seconds to play. The Nassib-to-Lemon connection was cited by SB Nation Missouri web site Rock M Nation as a problem for the Tigers:
Lining Alec Lemon up in the slot opposite Randy Ponder, the Orange scored 21 points in the fourth quarter. For the game, Lemon caught 12 passes for 244 yards, an outstanding performance, and with solid quarterback play, Syracuse was ready for whatever adjustment Missouri made. Soft zone? Ryan Nassib just switched to quick, short passes to the outside. Switch up your coverage on Lemon's side? Run easy, two-man routes to the other side and probably find Marcus Sales open in the process (eight catches, 85 yards). It would have been beautiful to watch had Mizzou not been involved.
The loss broke an 18-game non-conference winning streak and dropped Missouri to 5-6 on the season. With their final game at high-flying Texas A&M next Saturday, it looks unlikely that the Tigers will reach six wins and bowl eligibility. It would mark the first time since 2004 that the program failed to make a bowl appearance and the fourth time since Gary Pinkel took the head coaching position in 2001. At Rock M Nation, they're philosophical about the likelihood of a bowl-less winter:
So that's that then. Mizzou has one last chance to salvage bowl eligibility next week in College Station, but the best, clearest route to six wins has been impeded, and the odds are very good that Mizzou will spend the holidays at home for the first time since 2004. It happens to everybody occasionally, and it has happened to Mizzou this year. Get healthy, get mad, and make adjustments for next year. And if you can, find a couple of extra cornerbacks to throw out on the field to counter bad matchups.
Missouri's season finale against Texas A&M kicks off at 6:00 p.m. CT Saturday.