Mizzou football started the new year with a bang, running over Minnesota 33-17 to win the 2015 Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl. New Year’s Day marked the end of several Tigers’ time at Mizzou. Fortunately, they saved their best for last.
Senior defensive end Markus Golden, the bowl game’s MVP, was unstoppable as he racked up four tackles for a loss and one and a half sacks. He finished the season with 78 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.
“It's a blessing just to be part of the Mizzou team, just to be out here playing,” Golden says. “But for me to get MVP, it's amazing. It's one of the big days of my life. Coming to Missouri is one of the best things that happened to me.”
Senior wideout Bud Sasser caught a team-leading seven passes for 68 yards and two touchdowns. They were Maty Mauk’s only passing touchdowns, but the quarterback did truck his way to one of Mizzou’s most impressive rushing scores this season.
The Tigers also had their way on the ground, pounding out 337 yards on just 45 carries from several backs. Senior Marcus Murphy had a gaudy 13.1 yard-per-carry average, gaining 157 yards on just 12 carries. Junior Russell Hansbrough totaled 114 yards on 15 carries and scored a fourth-quarter touchdown.
Legacy of Leadership
“The leadership that these guys have brought this year to our team, I think, will certainly be great visual aids for our younger players and will pay dividends as time goes on,” coach Gary Pinkel says.
The game was also the finale for defensive coordinator Dave Steckel, on his way to become Missouri State’s head coach. His unit held Minnesota to just 16 points and the Gophers’ vaunted ground game to only 106 yards rushing. Coach Stec celebrated with his players in the locker room once the final whistle had sounded.
The win caps off Mizzou’s most successful two-year run ever. The Tigers have gone 23-5, winning two SEC East championships and both the Cotton Bowl and Citrus Bowl. In that time span, Mizzou has produced 11 All-SEC Players and two All-Americans.
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