MO State HS Sports

Football Moves To 2-0 With 23-19 Victory Over MTSU

Wease TD Catch vs MTSU

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Brady Cook overcame a slow start to complete 14 of 19 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another touchdown to help Missouri beat Middle Tennessee State 23-19 Saturday night.

Before a crowd of 57,645 – the first time Mizzou has hosted over 50,000 fans in its first two home games since 2019 – they Tigers moved to 2-0 for the first time since 2018 while the Blue Raiders dropped to 0-2.

A pass interference penalty against Missouri wide receiver Theo Wease Jr. by Middle Tennessee’s Teldrick Ross late in the fourth quarter gave Mizzou a first down and allowed the Tigers used five running plays to run out the clock and preserve the win.

On the previous play, it appeared that Wease had moved the chains the conventional way on a third-and-six when he caught a quick out from Cook, spun around a defender and darted 33 yards down the field. But a whistle for offensive pass interference negated the gain and moved the ball back to the MU 32-yard line. That’s when Cook targeted Wease again and drew the foul.

Wease scored his first Missouri touchdown in the third quarter when he high pointed a five-yard TD pass from Cook. That play capped an 80-yard drive that featured a 44-yard completion down the middle to Luther Burden III and gave the Tigers a 16-10 lead. Burden had his first 100-yard game as a Tiger with eight receptions for 117 yards.

It looked like Missouri had broken the game open when on the first play of the fourth quarter, running back Nathaniel Peat went in motion to the right, was left uncovered by the MTSU defense and Cook found him with a short pass that Peat took 49 yards to the end zone for a 23-10 lead. Peat finished the game with 110 all-purpose yards.

But then the Blue Raiders scored nine points in 50 seconds to close to within four points of the Tigers. First, they had a third-and-six near midfield when QB Nick Vattiato threw a deep pass over the top of the MU defense and found Elijah Metcalf for a 37-yard gain to the Missouri five-yard line. On fourth and goal at the seven, JC Carlies broke up a pass to Metcalf, but tackle Sterling Porcher was called for a false start and the Raiders got the down over. On fourth and 12, Vattiato passed over the middle to wideout Justin Olson who outwrestled Daylan Carnell for the ball in the end zone. Carnell was Mizzou’s top tackler with eight, including two for loss.

On the second play after the kickoff at the Tigers’ 16-yard line, linebacker Sam Brumfield blitzed Cook and knocked the ball away from him and out of the side of the end zone for a safety.

After the free kick, MTSU turned the ball over on downs with 3:22 to play and never got it again.

Missouri took the lead with 5:21 left in the first quarter on a 38-yard field goal by Harrison Mevis. That capped an eight-play drive, five of which were runs by Peat for 45 yards.

After holding South Dakota to five total yards in the first quarter last week, the Missouri defense held MTSU to 17 total yards in the first quarter this week, minus-14 rushing.

But early in the second quarter, the Blue Raiders started mixing quick short passes with quarterback runs and put together an 86-yard drive that ate up seven minutes and resulted in a three-yard touchdown pass from Vattiato to wide receiver Kalani Norris to give the Blue Raiders a 7-3 lead.

The Tigers responded with a long drive of their own, marching 71 yards in 16 plays with Cook sneaking one yard for a touchdown with 28 seconds on the clock. Cook got the ball to the five-yard line with a 10-yard pass to freshman Brett Norfleet – the first reception of his career. MTSU’s Jakobe Thomas was flagged for targeting on the play and disqualified. Thomas was the Raiders’ top tackler at the time with six.

Mizzou led 10-7 at halftime after each team had only one possession in the second quarter.

For the game, Missouri outgained Middle Tennessee 316-285, and the Tigers logged 12 tackles for loss – most since at least 2000. Defensive end Nyles Gaddy had two of Mizzou’s four QB sacks.

The Tigers remain at home next week to host the nationally ranked Kansas State Wildcats. Game time on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, is 11 a.m. CT at Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field. The game will be televised on the SEC Network and air on the Tiger Radio Network. It’s the first time since 2017 that the Tigers have opened a season with three straight home games.

The K-State game is sold out – Mizzou’s first home sellout since 2019 (Ole Miss) and first non-conference sellout since 2012 (Arizona State). Group and single-game tickets for remaining home games are available for purchase now by calling 1-800-CAT-PAWS or buying online.

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This article is provided by University of Missouri Athletics