COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Another lights-out offensive stretch put Syracuse in the bowl picture. This time, the Orangemen surged at the finish.
Ryan Nassib threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Alec Lemon with 20 seconds to go, capping a 21-point fourth quarter as Syracuse spoiled Missouri's home finale with a 31-27 victory on Saturday night.
On their three fourth-quarter TDs, the Orangemen totaled 226 yards on 20 snaps and needed just 4:34.
"When we have time on the clock, with the way Ryan's playing and the connection with Alec and the rest of the receivers, we have a chance," Syracuse coach Doug Marrone said. "I can't tell you how proud I am of these kids and their leadership."
Lemon had 12 receptions for a career-high 244 yards and two scores, including a 13-yard catch that tied it at 17 earlier in the fourth. After trailing 17-3 early, the Orangemen (6-5) followed up on a 45-26 upset of previously unbeaten Louisville a week earlier and became bowl eligible for the second time in three seasons.
"He's a playmaker," Nassib said of Lemon. "He's the guy you go to when you need something. He's been like that all year, and he hasn't proved me wrong yet."
Lemon accounted for all 81 yards on the deciding drive on four receptions. Nassib hit him for a 19-yard gain on fourth-and-10 from the Missouri 36 after Marrone decided it was too long for a field goal attempt, and on the next snap he made the clinching catch with no defender in sight.
"I was kind of shocked that I was that wide open," Lemon said. "It was a great feeling crossing that goal line."
Andrew Baggett's 46-yard field goal with 1:52 to play had put Missouri, minus injured quarterback James Franklin, up by three.
Plenty of time left for Syracuse.
"Everybody was calm, collected," Lemon said. "We knew what we had to do and we went out there and did it."
Kendial Lawrence had 119 yards on 27 carries with a fourth-quarter touchdown for the Tigers (5-6), who need a victory at No. 9 Texas A&M next week to become bowl eligible for the eighth straight season.
"Well, it's a difficult loss, but we've got to get up and get going," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "Just wake up and go.
"We're obviously playing a very, very good team that's on a roll."
Backup quarterback Corbin Berkstresser led Missouri to 10 points in the fourth quarter after replacing Franklin, described as "woozy" by the team's radio broadcast after getting hit the previous drive. After the game, Pinkel said Franklin had been "dinged."
"They (medical staff) pulled him out, so we'll see where it goes from there," Pinkel said. "He's had a remarkable year. I've been doing this for a long time and I've never seen a quarterback have all the things happen to him physically that's happened to him."
Franklin has missed three starts with shoulder and knee injuries.
Nassib was 26 for 40 for 385 yards and two touchdowns, setting a school career record with 8,845 yards passing. He had entered the game only 6 yards shy of the mark set by Marvin Graves from 1990-93.
All three of Syracuse's scoring drives in the fourth quarter, including an 8-yard run by Jerome Smith that tied it at 24 with 5:33 to go in the fourth quarter, lasted less than two minutes.
The Orangemen ended Missouri's 18-game winning streak against non-conference opponents, the school's best in the modern era.
Syracuse piled up 508 yards against a Missouri defense that faded without star tackle Sheldon Richardson, who did not dress after multiple reports during the week that he had been suspended for academic reasons. Richardson entered the game tied for the team lead in tackles.
Pinkel had a quick "no" when asked about Richardson's status going forward, and another quick "no" when asked whether the defense missed Richardson.
Franklin threw touchdown passes on the first two drives and was 17 for 23 for a season-best 279 yards. He watched from far down the sideline as Berkstresser went 2 for 2 for 65 yards that produced Lawrence's TD run for the lead.
Baggett's 46-yard field goal tied his career best, capitalizing on an interception by Randy Ponder off a deflected pass.
Dorial Green-Beckham broke free for a 70-yard score on a screen pass on the fourth snap of the game and Jimmie Hunt scored on a 30-yard reception in the first quarter.
Syracuse cut the deficit to 17-10 near the end of the half on a 1-yard run by Prince-Tyson Gulley.
Green-Beckham was untouched on a screen pass on the fourth snap, a 70-yard jaunt. After Syracuse settled for a field goal when Lemon whiffed on a pass that went between his legs at the 5, Franklin hit Jimmie Hunt on a 30-yard touchdown on third-and-14 to make it 14-3.
Green-Beckham scored on his third consecutive reception and Hunt scored his fourth career touchdown on just nine receptions. Green-Beckham and Danario Alexander (2009) are the only players in school history with a pair of 70-yard TD catches in a season.