Missouri 24, Arizona St. 20
Corbin Berkstresser ran for a score in his first career start at
quarterback in place of injured James Franklin, and Missouri’s
defense forced four turnovers to ease the pressure on the redshirt
freshman in a 24-20 victory over Arizona State on Saturday
Missouri (2-1) built a 17-point cushion in the third quarter in
front of a sellout crowd of 71,004, the school’s first for a
non-conference game since Notre Dame in 1984. The Tigers held on
late a week after fizzling late in a 21-point loss to No. 7 Georgia
that spoiled the school’s SEC debut.
Marion Grice scored on a pair of fourth-quarter runs that cut
the deficit to four for Arizona State (2-1), which had a fumbled
snap on the second extra-point kick.
Kendial Lawrence scored on a pair of short runs, and T.J. Moe
was strong overall with eight catches for 88 yards and a 43-yard
kickoff return to open the game for Missouri.
Missouri kicker Andrew Baggett made a 46-yard field goal early
but missed from 37, 45 and 48 yards.
Kenronte Walker made two big plays late, a pass deflection on
fourth and goal from the 2 to turn it over on downs and an end-zone
interception and 49-yard return to clinch it in the final
Missouri had quarterback suspense until just before kickoff with
Franklin the final starter announced, followed by intrigue when
Berkstresser took the field while Franklin wore a cap and headset
on the sideline, nursing an elbow injury. It was the first start
missed by the Tigers’ No. 1 quarterback since coach Gary Pinkel’s
first season in 2001.
Brad Smith didn’t miss a start in four seasons, Chase Daniel
made it three years in a row and Blaine Gabbert started every game
two years. Franklin had made 15 consecutive starts and warmed up
without obvious discomfort prior to the game, throwing several
passes of 20 or more yards while watched closely by offensive
coordinator Dave Yost.
Berkstresser, who subbed in the season’s first two games, got
plenty of help early as Missouri built a 17-0 lead. He cost the
Tigers a scoring opportunity in the second quarter, throwing into
coverage on Brandon McGee’s interception at the Sun Devil 3.
The Tigers got touchdown runs from Berkstresser and Lawrence on
a pair of 18-yard drives off turnovers, with Kip Edwards recovering
a fumble and intercepting Taylor Kelly on consecutive
Arizona State had 27 total yards before putting together a
66-yard drive near the end of the half fueled by quick hitters and
capped by D.J. Foster’s 33-yard score on a screen pass from Kelly
that took advantage of an overzealous pass rush.
ASU punter Josh Hubner fumbled a snap late in the third quarter,
recovering the ball after it slipped through his hands and rolled
over the top of his head. He still managed to kick the ball, and
the desperation 11-yard effort gave Missouri possession at the Sun
Devils’ 33. Lawrence had a 14-yard reception to the 2, then ran it
in from the 1 for a 24-7 lead.