Tigers get past accident scare, beat UConn 9-6

Tyler Hunt had the highlight of the win with his second catch of the season.
Missouri Tigers running back Tyler Hunt (35) runs through a defender Sept. 19, 2015, during a game against the Connecticut Huskies at Faurot Field.

As Missouri football players gathered for a walkthrough Friday afternoon, they realized something was off.

Freshmen Terry Beckner Jr., DeSean Blair, Keyon Dilosa and Trevon Walters were nowhere to be found.

Junior quarterback Maty Mauk initially thought they had simply gotten held up while getting haircuts and would show up soon. But it was soon announced that the four players had been in a car accident.

Mauk wanted answers.

“What happened? How bad is it? Are they alright?”

After having lost a team leader for the season in defensive tackle Harold Brantley when he broke his leg in a June 21 car accident, the Tigers couldn’t take much more loss.

“The emotions were pouring out of the locker room,” Mauk said. “We just wanted to know what was going on.”

Coach Gary Pinkel rushed to the scene of the accident, worried about his players.

"I was scared to death,” he said. “That's like your kids, so I'm in the car going.”

Beckner showed up to the walkthrough late and in a sling. Blair and Walters were absent, being treated at University Hospital.

The young players turned out to be OK, though Blair sustained a concussion and Dilosa has a bruised elbow.

“I've been head coach for so many years,” Pinkel said. “I'm going to get absolutely everything that can happen to you. The most important thing is we knew last night that they were all doing well.”

Pinkel said Beckner “was really upset because he was driving the car” but, being physically healthy, he was able to play in the No. 22 Tigers’ 9-6 Saturday victory over Connecticut.

Beckner recorded two tackles, including one for a four-yard loss during the game at Faurot Field.

The Huskies and the Tigers didn’t get together for a very pretty game, with both sides showing plenty of mistakes. In Mizzou’s first win when scoring fewer than 10 points since 1978, one specific play was the clear highlight.

With less than two minutes remaining in the third quarter and the score already at 9-6, Mauk threw a short pass to senior running back Tyler Hunt. The former walk-on grabbed the football and turned around, only to meet a UConn defender.

No problem. Hunt rammed straight into the Husky in his way and ran for a 51-yard gain.

"I was just like, ‘I’m going to run this kid over and make a move,” Hunt said post-game. “‘Be a playmaker and see what happens.'"

Hunt has only made one other catch this season: a wide-open 78-yard touchdown against Southeast Missouri State that also garnered national attention.

Two catches, 129 yards. But Hunt feels he can do more.

“I'm a playmaker,” he said. “I just need to get more chances thrown my way. I had a couple touches, but I just need a lot more, I feel. I'm a good player. I've worked hard and been here a long time.”

Following the game, Hunt took to Twitter.

“Feel very disrespected,” he said, hashtagging, “FEWDM” — an acronym that stands for something stronger than the preceding three words.

“For everyone who doubts me.”

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