Missouri beats Florida on 2-point conversion in OT, wins 24-23 to secure bowl eligibility
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Connor Bazelak threw a 2-point conversion pass to Daniel Parker Jr. to lift Missouri to a 24-23 overtime victory over Florida on Saturday.
The Tigers (6-5, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) drew within a point on Tyler Badie’s 13-yard touchdown run, and Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz elected to go for 2 rather than send the game to a second overtime with a PAT kick. Parker, a tight end, slipped undetected into the left side of the end zone and caught the lobbed pass.
Badie rushed 27 times for 146 yards. Bazelak completed 15 of 26 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown.
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.
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 on a 41-yard touchdown pass.
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 coach Dan Mullen elected to run out the clock and take his chances in overtime rather than throw the ball.
Florida: With the Gators’ fourth straight SEC loss, the speculation about coach Dan Mullen’s job security will grow even louder. Florida is 2-9 in its last 11 games against Power 5 opponents.
Missouri: The Tigers secured bowl eligibility for the second time in Eli Drinkwitz’s two-year tenure as coach. Missouri had higher hopes than a six-win season, but after losing its first three SEC games, Drinkwitz deserves credit for keeping the team together and salvaging the season.
Florida: The Gators finish the regular season at home against Florida State on Nov. 27.
Missouri: The Tigers play at Arkansas on Friday in their regular-season finale.
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