Mizzou ends 2022 on a low note, falling to Wake Forest in the Gasparilla Bowl 27-17. The Tigers end Year 3 of Eli Drinkwitz’s tenure with a 6-7 record.

Drinkwitz’s squad took its first lead of the game in the second half. Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman, though, was determined to end his Demon Deacon career with a victory.

In the 3rd quarter, MU took a 17-14 lead. A 13-play, 83-yard drive ended with Cody Schrader running for a 4-yard score.

The lead did not last long, however. Just 76 seconds later, Wake Forest was back on top 20-17 after Hartman connected with Jahmal Banks for a 48-yard touchdown. The Demon Deacons missed the extra point, keeping it a field-goal game into the 4th quarter.

Hartman and company brought an end to a scoreless 4th quarter with a game-clinching touchdown in the final minutes. After a Mizzou punt, the Demon Deacons started on their own 25-yard line. Wake Forest drove 75 yards on 8 plays, with Hartman finding Taylor for a 16-yard touchdown on 2nd-and-8, making it a 2-possession game.

Mizzou moved backward on its final possession. Facing 4th-and-33, the Tigers were unable to convert, giving the ball back for Wake Forest to run out the final minute.

Hartman finished with 280 passing yards and 3 touchdowns with 1 interception. Cook had 215 yards passing, 1 touchdown and no interceptions passing, while also rushing 14 times for 38 yards.

The Wake Forest defense was more disruptive than Mizzou’s on Friday night in Tampa. The Demon Deacons recorded more sacks (4-2) and tackles for loss (10-4) in a box score that was mostly even. Mizzou ran more plays (81-71) but was unable to turn those extra plays into points. For Wake Forest, it was the first time holding an opponent under 30 points since October.

In the early going, Wake Forest was threatening to potentially go up 21-3 before the half when the Mizzou defense stepped up big time. Jaylon Carlies picked off Hartman in the end zone.

The turnover gave the Tigers a jolt of momentum, waking up an offense that had been struggling. MU went on a 7-play, 80-yard scoring drive capped by a Cook touchdown pass. The extra point cut it to 14-10, giving the Tigers new life.

Like many teams this Bowl Season, Mizzou was missing key players on both sides of the ball. Leading MU WR Dominic Lovett recently announced his transfer to Georgia. The Tigers were also without multiple key defenders and dealt with offensive line injuries during the game.