COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Arkansas State quarterback Adam Kennedy doesn't know why his team struggles once it reaches an opponent's 20-yard-line.
The Red Wolves drove four times into Missouri's red zone in the first half Saturday night, but they only walked away with 13 points.
Still, they only trailed by one.
But the difficulties the team had with punching in the ball clearly had an impact, as the team struggled to generate any momentum after halftime, giving up 21 points in the final quarter to lose 41-19 in wet conditions.
"It wasn't about effort, it wasn't about passion," coach Bryan Harsin said. "It was about technique and fundamentals. It was about play calls in certain situations."
Kennedy tied a school record with 37 completions for 308 yards and J.D. McKissic caught a school-record 15 receptions for 117 yards. Julian Jones added 136 receiving yards on 10 catches for the Red Wolves (2-3), who lost consecutive games in the same season for the first time since 2010 despite gaining 425 yards but only 140 in the second half.
"The reality of it was, we didn't have a whole lot of time to sit back there and throw the ball down the field to him," Harsin said about McKissic. "So we had to throw him short ones and put the ball in his hands and just let him create those yards on his own. And he really did that."
James Franklin orchestrated two drives of 94 and 87 yards after Missouri (4-0) trailed 16-14 with 11:31 remaining in the third quarter. The Tigers failed to convert any of their four third-down opportunities and only possessed the ball for 9:12 in the first half.
"Ideally, you don't want to do it like that," guard Max Copeland said.
Brian Davis kicked a 33-yard field goal with 7:31 left in the game to pull Arkansas State within 27-19 but it couldn't get closer. He also converted from 41, 21 and 44 yards and has made all seven of his attempts this season.
"You want to get seven," Harsin said. "That's the whole goal. You'll take three. Luckily we have a kicker like Brian Davis who gets us three. Now you walk out of there with nothing, that's deflating."
Missouri looked sluggish in the first half after running 97 plays in a 45-28 win at Indiana last week. The team only ran 25 in the opening 30 minutes Saturday, but Franklin got things going in the third with a 13-yard pass to L'Damian Washington on a third down at Missouri's 36-yard-line to keep the team on the field. After Franklin ran for 18 yards to the Arkansas State's 17-yard-line, he found Washington in the corner of the end zone from five yards out for a 20-16 lead.