Missouri was nearly a two-touchdown favorite Saturday.
The No. 18 Tigers, who played for the SEC championship last season, weren’t supposed to be troubled by Indiana, a perennial also-ran from the downtrodden Big Ten. It especially was not supposed to happen at Memorial Stadium, not against a Hoosiers team coming off a loss at Bowling Green.
Even with Indiana junior tailback Tevin Coleman — who entered the game averaging a nation-leading 218.5 yards per game — out for most of the first half because of cramps, it didn’t matter.
Columbia became upset city.
The Hoosiers left the Tigers’ home crowd of 66,755 in stunned silence when Coleman’s backup, senior D’Angelo Roberts, vaulted into the end zone with 22 seconds left and delivered a 31-27 upset.
“Our guys are really suffering right now, and that’s OK,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. “This isn’t the fun part of this business.”
Penalties, poor protection and high snaps plagued the Tigers’ offense throughout the game, but sophomore quarterback Maty Mauk and senior wide receiver Bud Sasser got into rhythm in time to grab a late lead.
Mauk connected with Sasser three times for 48 yards on the Tigers’ penultimate drive — an 11-play, 70-yard march from its own 8-yard line.
Junior Andrew Baggett was set to be the hero — along with Sasser, who finished with career highs in receptions (11) and receiving yards (142) — after his 40-yard field goal with 2:20 remaining put the Tigers in front.
But Missouri’s defense didn’t hold, allowing Indiana to get its first road win against a ranked opponent since 2004.
“It’s nice to finally play hard and get on the right side,” fourth-year Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said.
Missouri’s defense appeared to hold with 1:11 remaining when Indiana quarterback Nate Sudfeld’s fourth-down pass to freshman Dominique Booth fell incomplete.
MU sophomore cornerback John Gibson began to celebrate with his teammates before noticing the penalty flags. The 15-yard pass-interference penalty kept the drive alive.
Coleman, who finished with 189 yards from scrimmage, rumbled 44 yards on a screen pass on the next snap, and the Hoosiers, 2-1, punched it in two plays later, clinching a much-needed signature win for Wilson’s program.
“We’ve got to have the mental toughness to shake that off,” MU linebacker Michael Scherer said. “We were still good. They were still on the minus side of the field. We were still in the driver’s seat.”
A few missed tackles aided Coleman’s screen, and that was too much for the Tigers, 3-1, to overcome coupled with the other mistakes.
Missouri had 11 penalties for 99 yards in its first three games but was flagged for 10 for 75 yards against Indiana. And MU’s streak of 47 consecutive games with a takeaway, the longest in the nation, was snapped.
The Hoosiers, who had a combined 12 tackles for a loss against Indiana State and Bowling Green, racked up 11 against the Tigers.
Mauk was only sacked twice, but he was seldom able to sit in the pocket and spent the game running from danger.
Losing senior left guard Anthony Gatti didn’t help, but it would be foolish to pin the loss on his replacement, junior Brad McNulty.
Defensively, without senior Markus Golden at left defensive end, Indiana went right at a weakened spot — with great success.
“This is our coming-to-Jesus moment, guys,” MU senior left tackle Mitch Morse said. “I promise you, this week is going to be the best week of practice we’ve ever had. We’re going to be attached to the hip with the guys who need help.”
Indiana led through most of the game.
Missouri answered Coleman’s 1-yard touchdown in the first quarter with a 45-yard scoring bomb from Mauk to senior Jimmie Hunt.
Indiana retook the lead with a 16-play, 75-yard touchdown march capped by a 1-yard Roberts score, but Missouri responded with 10 straight points, including Russell Hansbrough’s 68-yard touchdown.
Baggett, who connected from 27 yards, and freshman Aaron Del Grosso, who hit from 23 yards, traded field goals in the final 2:42 before halftime, which arrived with the score tied 17-17.
Indiana retook the lead again in the third quarter on a 33-yard deep post from Sudfeld to freshman J-Shun Harris II. Mauk knotted the game with a 1-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Sean Culkin.