Last season’s heartbreak lingers as Missouri prepares for Kentucky

Kentucky won last season’s matchup with a two-yard touchdown on the last play of the game.

One of Missouri’s lowest moments in its up-and-down 2018 season came when it lost a heartbreaker to the University of Kentucky.

With the score 14-9 in favor of the Tigers and four seconds left in the game, Kentucky quarterback Terry Wilson lofted a pass to the back left corner of the south end zone. Missouri cornerback DeMarkus Acy and Kentucky receiver Ahmad Wagner both leapt for the ball.

Wagner caught it but came down well out of bounds, which would have ended the game if it weren’t for a penalty flag thrown at the end of the play.

Acy was called for pass interference, moving the ball up to the 2-yard line. Kentucky scored the winning touchdown on an untimed down on the next play. Almost exactly one year later, Missouri is taking on Kentucky again, with last season’s painful defeat still on players’ minds.

But not Acy’s.

“No,” he said when asked if there was anything that he still thought about from that game. “I just remember we lost.”

Is there anything he took away from it he can use in this upcoming game?

“Not really.”

Safety Khalil Oliver said he moved on the next day.

“You get that 24 hours,” he said. “You think about it, and after that you forget it. If you sit and dwell on it for a year, it sits around. It festers, and it’s not good for anybody.”

Offensive lineman Trystan Colon-Castillo, however, still feels the sting of that last-second loss.

“We got up early and we just kind of let them hang around,” he said. “I think it was [because] we didn’t get a first down in the second half. That’s something I take really personally. I know it’ll definitely be in the back of my mind this week.”

Colon-Castillo still thinks about two plays from the game: a third-down run play late in the third quarter where running back Tyler Badie was stopped for no gain, a run Colon-Castillo said was one block away from going for a 71-yard touchdown. Colon-Castillo didn’t realize how close it had been until watching the film the next day.

The other play Colon-Castillo cited was the last offensive snap of the game. Facing third and two with a five-point lead and 1:41 left in the game, Missouri was at its own 26-yard line. A first down would have effectively ended the game. Running the ball would have forced Kentucky to use its last timeout. Quarterback Drew Lock rolled right and threw an incomplete pass to Johnathon Johnson, stopping the clock before Missouri’s punt.

“We had the ball in our hands, and [if] we get that first down we put the game to rest,” Colon-Castillo said. “Those two plays really stick out to me.”

Quarterback Kelly Bryant wasn’t on the team last year, but he had his own perspective on that final play. Taking his official visit from Clemson, Bryant was in the stands at the end of the game unfolded.

“I was in such awe,” he said. “I ain’t know what was going on. I was just sitting there in disbelief pretty much.”

Despite not being a part of the team for the game, last season’s disappointment is still on Bryant’s mind as he prepares to face Kentucky in a Missouri uniform.

“It’s not one of those things that’s been discussed a lot, but everyone knows what happened,” he said. “You know how the game played out. The biggest thing we feel is this is a new team, and they’re a new team as well, so you can’t dwell on the past, but you also gotta keep it in the back of your head.”

Edited by Emily Leiker | eleiker@themaneater.com

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