Re-living Missouri’s collapse in the final two minutes to Kentucky

Terry Wilson completed a pass to C.J Conrad on the game’s last play and Missouri let another conference win slip through its fingertips.
Missouri coach Barry Odom hangs his head after watching the replay of a block in the back call after a 32-yard touchdown catch from freshman receiver Kam Scott gets called back on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. Odom is 0-6 against ranked opponents in his time as head coach at Missouri.

DeMarkus Acy reached his arms out as the deep pass fell into his hands.

Acy made his first career interception, and Missouri had seemingly put the game away with 2:38 left.

All Missouri needed was what it had been in search of the entire second half — one first down, 10 measly yards — and the game would be put to rest.

Rushes on first and second downs by Damarea Crockett gained eight total yards, and Barry Odom was faced with a decision on third-and-2.

He could run, and either get the first down or force the Wildcats final timeout, or trust Drew Lock’s arm to complete a pass and put the game to bed. Odom elected for the latter.

Lock’s pass flew towards the sideline and landed past the hands of Johnathon Johnson, stopping the clock and bringing up fourth down.

“With the option route with [Johnson] we felt good about it,” Odom said. “I figured if we ran the ball there they were going to take a timeout, so we weren’t going to gain clock.”

Odom was right. Kentucky would have used its last timeout, but after the incomplete pass, the Wildcats got to keep their final timeout in the back pocket.

For the eighth straight Missouri drive, the Tigers sent out Corey Fatony and the punting unit.

“They definitely stopped us,” Lock said. “We could have made some plays. It’s hard to say you’ve beat yourself and then that happens I guess. We definitely could have made some different plays and gotten a first down.”

Fatony’s punt would be downed at the 19, and a Kentucky offense yet to score a touchdown had 1:24 left with 81 yards in front of them.

On the first play, Kentucky quarterback Terry Wilson was sacked by Tre Williams at the 12, bringing up a second-and-17 with just over one minute to go.

Wilson then took what the blanket Missouri coverage gave him, dumping a pass to Lynn Bowden Jr. for 12 yards. Earlier, Bowden’s punt return score brought Kentucky back into the game and cut Missouri’s lead down to five at 14-9.

Faced with a third-and-5, Wilson stepped up in the pocket and threw behind slot receiver David Bouvier, but Bouvier turned and made a sliding grab to move the chains and keep the Wildcats’ hopes alive.

Wilson found Bouvier again and then completed a pass to Josh Ali, nickel-and-diming his way down to the Missouri 20-yard line as the clock ticked under 20 seconds.

“We didn’t get conservative on what we were doing defensively,” Odom said.

Missouri defensive backs gave receivers acres of space to work underneath, afraid to give up the big plays that had haunted the unit throughout the season.

On the edge of the red zone, Wilson took the snap, and after looking and looking, was swallowed up by Terez Hall with nine seconds to play.

The clock was set to run out, but Kentucky pulled out its final timeout, the one it retained after the incomplete pass, to give them two shots to win the game.

Wilson then had the ball at the 27, and Missouri’s non-conservative defense put five players on the goal-line, leaving Bowden Jr. open on the left sideline for a 17-yard gain to the Missouri 10.

“I didn’t want a shot at the goal,” Odom said. “I didn’t want an end zone throw at that point.”

Kentucky was left with one shot with four seconds left, Wilson looked to his left and threw a fade route into the arms of Ahmad Wagner.

After getting tangled up, Wagner was forced out of bounds by Acy, the pass was incomplete and Missouri had escaped at home against Kentucky.

Except it hadn’t. For a Missouri team that has struggled time and time again in the fourth quarter, it would have been too easy. Acy looked back and saw a yellow flag sitting in the back of the end zone.

The call was pass interference on Acy and once again, Kentucky would get one more chance to escape Faurot Field with a victory.

“His hands were all over my helmet so I tried my best just to get my hands off and I guess the referee saw otherwise,” Acy said.

This time, Wilson found C.J. Conrad in the end zone on a rub route. The ball fell into Conrad’s arms and Kentucky finished off a 15-14 comeback win with a score on the game’s final untimed down.

On the final drive, Wilson, a quarterback with just 18 passing yards a week ago, had completed all six of his passes for 87 yards to drive the Wildcats down the field.

For Odom’s team, the collapse was complete. Murphy’s law was in effect in the game’s final minutes and after eight second-half three-and-outs left the door ajar, Kentucky had finally busted the door to the ground.

Edited by Adam Cole | acole@themaneater.com

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