To say the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl has been an ugly game at times might be an understatement. The game featured three turnovers within the first few minutes of the game, and No. 16 Missouri busted out a fake punt run by a 290-pound nose guard for an 19-yard gain. At the half, Missouri leads No. 25 Minnesota 10-7.
Missouri got off to a rough start on offense, with quarterback Maty Mauk being picked off twice on the first two possessions of the game for the Tigers. Minnesota gave the football back just as quickly as they took it away in the opening minutes with a turnover of their own when quarterback Mitch Leidner lost the football while being sacked. Minnesota got the scoring going a little later in the first quarter when Rodrick Williams Jr. busted open a 20-yard touchdown run up the middle. Mizzou hung around for much of the half and used some late-half heroics from Mauk to take the lead. Mauk took off for a 20-yard gain on the ground down the right sideline to set up a late touchdown pass to Bud Sasser from 25 yards out with just over a minute to play in the first half.
The highlight of the first half came on special teams.
On 4th and 17 from their own 17-yard line, Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel rolled the dice with a fake punt that saw nose guard Harold Brantley take a direct snap and take advantage of some solid blocking (and a napping Minnesota special teams coverage), but also showed a swift move or two on his way to a 19-yard gain. Missouri could not capitalize on the big special teams play though, ending the drive with a punt downed at the Minnesota two-yard line.