It wasn’t always pretty, but the Missouri Tigers were effective when it counted Saturday night. Mizzou converted four straight touchdown drives in the second half to pull away from Arkansas State in a 41-19 win at Faurot Field.
The Red Wolves actually led for much of the first quarter with a pair of field goals, and the Tigers lost Randy Ponder for the night after an early targeting penalty. Marcus Murphy capped a quick scoring drive with a eight-yard run near the end of the frame to give Mizzou a 7-6 lead. James Franklin connected on the Tigers’ next drive with a 68-yard scoring bomb to Dorial Green-Beckham, and it seemed a rout could be in order.
Arkansas State wouldn’t give in, answering with a touchdown pass of its own before the half to notch a 14-13 score at intermission. An early third-quarter field goal for the Red Wolves put Mizzou behind for much of the period, until Franklin capped a 94-yard drive with a five-yard scoring toss to L’Damian Washington to take the lead back at 20-16.
Missouri outscored Arkansas State 21-3 in the fourth frame, on touchdown runs by Henry Josey and Franklin, and Green-Beckham’s second touchdown reception of the night. That pass was set up by an interception by E.J. Gaines, extending the turnover streak for Mizzou’s defense to an FBS-best 34 games.
Franklin wasn’t always flashy, but went 20-of-29 in the passing game for 255 yards and three touchdowns, and ran one in. Russell Hansbrough didn’t score, but led the Tigers with 96 yards on eight carries. Green-Beckham’s 95 yards on four receptions with two scores paced the Missouri receiving corps. The Tiger defensive line again gave up plenty of yardage, but the defensive line recorded five sacks of Red Wolves quarterback Adam Kennedy.
Southeastern Conference play begins for Missouri next Saturday, as the Tigers head to Nashville to face Vanderbilt. Our coverage begins with KTGR’s Tiger Gameday at 3:30 pm on 100.5 and 103.1 FM, 1580 AM, and KTGR.com.