COLUMBIA, Mo. • Liberty Bowl executive director Steve Ehrhart remembers visiting with Mizzou athletics director Mike Alden and “trying like heck” in years past to secure the Tigers for the bowl game in Memphis.
But Mizzou hasn’t made that postseason trip since 1980 when they lost to Purdue. They also went in 1978.
“I remember being up here with Mike several times,” Ehrhart said Saturday night at Faurot Field. “And when we talked in Destin at the (SEC) spring meetings, I told him, ‘Maybe this is a sign.’”
The Tigers entered Saturday’s game against Syracuse with five victories, needing one more for bowl eligibility. But those prospects were dealt a blow after a 31-27 loss to the Orange. The team’s last opportunity to qualify is next week’s season finale at Texas A&M.
Earlier Saturday, the group of teams that could be in contention for a spot in the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31 continued to dwindle. Arkansas was eliminated with a loss. Ole Miss remained a serious possibility but lost to LSU and remains at five wins. Vanderbilt is an attractive in-state option but the Commodores played in the Liberty Bowl last year.
Prior to MU’s loss, Ehrhart wasn’t shy in talking about the Tigers as a potential draw.
“TV out of Memphis goes into Missouri as a viewing area, so that’s intriguing to us,” he said. “And Missouri has a reputation of being one of the classiest with Mike’s leadership. So we have a ton of reasons it would be good if all the planets align. That’s why I came.”
Mizzou defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson was suspended for Saturday’s game, but he made an appearance on Twitter.
Richardson posted a photo of a wristband with his initials and numbers and wrote:
“Look what my teammates sent me thanks boys now go win this for the seniors wish I could b out there”
But as Post-Dispatch columnist Bryan Burwell reported, not all of Richardson's tweets were supportive.
With the suspension, Richardson might have missed his final home game if he decides to leave early for the NFL draft.
Moe passes Maclin
Senior T.J. Moe passed Jeremy Maclin for fifth place on the school’s all-time receptions list with his two first-quarter catches. Maclin had 182 receptions at Mizzou during his abbreviated career.
Moe remains well off the pace of his junior season, however. He entered the game with 33 catches for 303 yards after collecting 54 for 649 in 2011. As a sophomore he had 92 catches for 1,045 yards.
Jimmie Hunt’s 30-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter gave him a 50 percent scoring rate on his eight career catches. It was Hunt’s third score on seven catches this season and gave him a 22-yard per catch average.
Last season, as a redshirt freshman from Cahokia, Hunt played in 11 games but had only one catch. But it went for a 54-yard touchdown against Western Illinois.