STARKVILLE - The Missouri Tigers will finish the regular season with a .500 record after a lackluster performance in the season finale against Mississippi State.
The game got off to a promising start as Larry Rountree III capped off the opening drive with an 18-yard touchdown run. Rountree III had two rushing touchdowns for the game.
The momentum quickly shifted after a Mississippi State punt was muffed by the Tigers' Cade Musser. Bulldogs' longsnapper Paul Blackwell fell on the ball in the end zone for a Mississippi State touchdown to tie the game 7-7 and shift the momentum.
"It kind of happened to us last week too when they scored right before half and the momentum shifted and we never really responded," Coach Eliah Drinkwitz said after the game. "I don't know what it is but it's something we'll spend a lot of time trying to fix and work on because we have to be able to respond to the ebbs and flows of a football game.
A pair of Will Rogers' passing touchdowns and a Bulldogs' field goal put the Tigers down 24-10 late in the first half. The Tigers were driving when Connor Bazelak was intercepted by Emmanuel Forbes with under a minute to go in the half. That led to another field goal and the Tigers' trailed 27-10 at halftime.
Things did not get better in the second half as Mizzou had no answers for the Bulldogs' offense. Mississippi State ran away with a 51-32 win.
"We were going to try to mix it up and play man and mix in some zone. That was the plan and it wasn't very effective," Drinkwitz said about his team's defensive strategy after the game.
A cool moment for former Tigers quarterback Shawn Robinson occurred late in the fourth quarter. Robinson, wearing No. 12 these days, made the switch to the defensive side of the ball due to depth and availability issues for the Tigers. Robinson picked off Mississippi State's K.J. Costello's pass late in the game for his first career interception.
"I'm a safety now. I'm a safety. I wouldn't be here right now if I wasn't going to play safety, I'm all in," Robinson said after the game.
Robinson, who transferred to Mizzou from TCU, said he and Coach Drinkwitz discussed moving him to the defensive side of the ball about a month ago.
"If I wanted to play quarterback, I obviously couldn't play it here and be the guy because obviously Connor [Bazelak] is the guy," Robinson said. "So I would have to transfer, and I wasn't trying to do that for the third time."
With the loss, the Tigers finish the regular season with a 5-5 record. Missouri will await to see who, when and where it will play for a bowl game.