The Cougars ran out of fourth quarter magic as they fell to the Missouri Tigers 16-20 at Arrowhead Stadium Saturday night.
Missouri capitalized BYU’s critical late-game mistakes for the come-from-behind win. The Cougars are now 7-3 in games with tight scores heading into the fourth quarters.
BYU led the Tigers 10-6 heading into the fourth quarter, but a roughing the passer penalty in the red zone led to a Missouri touchdown with 13 minutes left in the game.
The Cougars were unable to sustain their pattern of strong fourth quarter play, and were outscored 14-6 in the final 15 minutes.
“(There were) a few penalties and turnovers at the wrong time,” BYU Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall said following the loss. “In a close game, you expect those things to make the difference.”
The real story of this game was the defensive play by both teams. The first half of this game only produced nine total points by both teams. Missouri held BYU to only 16 points in the game and 290 yards of total offense. In addition, the Cougars’ Bronson Kaufusi was a ball predator against the Tigers. He had 10 total tackles, three tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles. Kaufusi is looking more and more like an NFL caliber player as the season goes on.
BYU’s offense struggled to get their offensive rhythm in the first half but found it in the second half scoring two touchdowns.
Missouri’s offense however, came at a surprise in this game finishing with 434 total yards while averaging only 281 yards a game. Missouri’s offense was the worst-rated offense coming into the game against BYU. They played with a lot of emotion after major events earlier in the week like the school’s president resigning and coach Gary Pinkel resigning due to health reasons.
The Cougars have mounted four come-from-behind wins in the fourth quarter this season.
Following Missouri’s touchdown — a gift from the BYU defense because of the personal foul penalty — the Tigers recovered a BYU fumble on the following play. Missouri’s freshman quarterback Drew Lock and running back Tyler Hunt ran through the Cougar defense for another touchdown in six plays to put the Tigers on top 20-10.
BYU still had hope after driving 72 yards for a touchdown. Quarterback Tanner Mangum connected with Francis Bernard on a six-yard touchdown pass to close the gap to 16-20. BYU kicker Trevor Samson missed the extra point attempt, shifting some of the momentum back to Missouri.
“It is tough when you feel like you lose a game to a team that you are better than,” tight end Remington Peck said. “They played a better football game.“
BYU falls to 3-2 in games decided by seven points or less. Their other close loss came against UCLA this past September.
“We can’t dwell on this too long,” Mangum said. “Obviously it hurts, but we had some positives. We did some good things, so we have to go learn from those and take that and get back to work.”
The Cougars can still salvage the season by winning their last two games against Fresno State and Utah State, which would put them at 9-3 on the season, a respectable record considering their difficult schedule. BYU will take on Fresno State at home on Nov. 21 at 1 p.m. The Cougars still have a chance to hit the 10-win mark if they can win the rest of their games, including the anticipated bowl game.