COLUMBIA - KLUNK.
You'll never forget the sound. It was the sound that signaled Mizzou had officially squandered the Homecoming game. Andrew Baggett's 24-yard field goal in the second overtime doinked off the left upright, and No. 21 South Carolina had stolen the game away.
This was by no means a game to be blamed on the Tigers' kicker, however.
No. 5 Missouri carried a 17-0 lead into the fourth quarter, and simply stopped playing football at that point. Conner Shaw entered the game at quarterback for the Gamecocks' starter Dylan Thompson, and led his team to tie it up 17-17 with less than a minute to play in regulation.
All of this happened, in a game that had the feeling of a blowout or even a shutout through the end of the third quarter. The Tigers used big plays including a 96-yard touchdown pass from Maty Mauk to L'Damian Washington in the second quarter, as well as some crucial turnovers by the Gamecocks near the end zone.
The Gamecocks' Mike Davis fumbled at the 2-yard line in the second quarter, and the ball was recovered by Kony Ealy to stop the scoring threat. Dylan Thompson was intercepted on the team's next possession by John Gibson at the Missouri 10, missing out on yet another scoring opportunity in the first half.
But the good defense didn't last forever for the Tigers.
Missouri failed to stop the Carolina offense in the fourth quarter, as Shaw led his team up and down the field on three different possessions.
Mizzou had its best opportunity to walk away with a victory in the first overtime. Starting the period on offense, Missouri's Marcus Murphy ran it in to put the Tigers up by a touchdown. South Carolina was facing a do-or-die 4th-and-15 situation during their overtime possession.
And somehow with Memorial Stadium as loud as it had been all night, the Tigers defense collapsed once more, giving up an easy touchdown pass to Bruce Ellington, tying the game.
It was here that the Tigers had lost, not because of Baggett's field goal miss.
Sure, the defense was able to hold South Carolina to a field goal on their next possession, and a field goal of their own would have pushed the game into a third overtime, and it would have been anybody's game.
But Missouri wasted one chance too many. They failed to score a touchdown after the first-and-goal in the second overtime. For whatever reason, Missouri stopped playing good football, and withered away their chance at an 8-0 start to the season.
All is not lost for the 2013 Missouri Tigers. They still lead the SEC East over South Carolina by one game, and next Saturday's clash against Tennessee will be a vital bounce-back opportunity for Mizzou.
With Ole Miss and Texas A&M still looming on the schedule, Mizzou will have to face tough competition if they want to reach Atlanta for the SEC Championship game. Expect the team to prove their worth to the nation despite their setback on Saturday night.