Led by quarterback Drew Lock and J'Mon Moore, the Tigers drove into Wildcats territory with hopes of springing the road upset as double-digit underdogs. But confusion, and what turned out to be an officiating error, prevented that upset from happening.
Moore caught a pass on a drag route from Lock and was tackled in bounds at the Wildcat 27-yard line with 20 seconds left. With no timeouts remaining, Moore quickly sprinted to get lined up for what likely would have been a quarterback spike. But the ball was knocked away from him by a passing Kentucky player, costing the Tigers precious seconds. After the seconds ticked away, Lock spiked it and then one final play fell incomplete.
The Tigers should have had more time.
"After postgame video review and discussion with the on-field officials, it was determined the officials did not see the ball dislodged by an opposing player as the Missouri receiver attempted to return the ball directly to the official," the SEC said in a statement to Gabe DeArmond of PowerMizzou.com. "Had that action been seen by the officials in real time, the clock would have been stopped at approximately 0:16 seconds and restarted on the ready for play signal."
Here are real-time and slow-mo versions of the incident.
#41 Josh Allen is the MVP here. Knocked it out of J'Mon Moore's hand before he could throw it to the ref! pic.twitter.com/4dK0LBQdwY— Jeff Faughender (@JFauGFX) October 8, 2017
Instead of those 16 seconds, Lock spiked it with with just three seconds on the clock. That's an enormous difference for an offense that was clearly feasting on a worn-out Wildcat defense.
The loss dropped Missouri to 1-4 overall and 0-3 SEC in coach Barry Odom's second year leading the program. The Tigers will face No. 4 Georgia at 7:30 p.m. ET this weekend.