ORLANDO -- The Gophers played their first New Year's Day bowl game in 53 years and they didn't handle the stage very well at all.
The Gophers made numerous self-inflicted mistakes and kept tripping over themselves in a 33-17 loss to Missouri in the Citrus Bowl.
The Gophers showed improvement this season, but they should fume over this missed opportunity.
They lost three fumbles, including two by quarterback Mitch Leidner. They muffed a punt that gave Missouri great field position.
They had an unnecessary roughing the passer penalty that helped set up a Missouri touchdown.
They allowed MU to convert a faked punt and an onside kick to start the second half.
Jerry Kill played things too conservatively at the end of the first half after his offense got the ball at their 25 with 1:04 left and all three timeouts. Kill ran out the clock, even after his team moved the ball to their 41 with about 20 seconds left.
The Gophers didn't run another play. The Gophers were supposed to get the ball to start the second half but Missouri perfectly executed an onside kick.
It was just a sloppy, disappointing performance for the Gophers.