The Tigers were tested late, but held on to beat Kansas State 36-24
It’s a bit unusual that one of the most important matches of the year comes in the first conference game for each team, but the game between Mizzou and Kansas State was a rematch of last year’s most highly contested Heart of America game, and the number 1 and 2 finishers in the conference. The scoring started as the Tigers ran a set piece from inside their own half, in which flyhalf Gareth Jones read the defense and dropped the ball inside to wing Nick Romano who beat the fullback for the score. Later, Jones swang the ball wide to inside center Adam Cooley, who freed Romano for a long run, then offloaded to the oncoming Cooley for a long score. The Tigers carried a 14-0 lead late into the half, until the Mizzou forwards pounded ahead repeatedly near the goaline, eventually freeing up flanker Daniel Simon to dart between two defenders for the score. The Tigers had momentum going into the half with a 21-0 lead.
Kansas State worked their way back into the game with some gritty forward play and good field position set up by Tiger mistakes. The K State forwards punched in a try from close to make the score 21-5, but the Tigers answered back scoring off a maul from lock Jacob Walls. Two consecutive tries by K State forwards shrank the lead to 26-17, putting them back in the game. After driving the field pushing them in close, Mizzou flyhalf Jones quickly slashed around to the weak side, received the pass from scrumhalf J.T. Schlegel and snuck between two defenders for the try. Kansas State won another kickoff and scored from the centers positions to make it a one score game, 31-24. With only a few minutes remaining, Mizzou got the ball back and controlled possession well. A break from the wing gave the Tigers what they thought to be another score, but being called held up caused a 5 meter scrum. A backline set piece freed fullback Danny Hahn who dished to Pat Hallaron for the try to put away Kansas State with the 36-24 win.
Next week Mizzou travels to Lindenwood-Belleville to take on one of the country’s hottest teams right now.