What should Mizzou have done differently? What Eli Drinkwitz said after 'devastating' loss

It was perhaps the worst way to lose.

After having a chance to win it in regulation on a walk-off field goal, Missouri fell in overtime as Nathaniel Peat's outstretched hand couldn't reach the goal line before the ball came out.

That cemented a 17-14 overtime loss Saturday to an Auburn program that was almost begging for MU to win with questionable decisions and subpar play.

"To lose that way, really twice, just devastating for our locker room and our coaches. Just stinks," Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said. "Hard to take."

Here's what Drinkwitz said after the stinging defeat.

More:Three takeaways from Missouri's gut-wrenching 17-14 overtime loss at Auburn

On Mizzou's late-game decisions

With the ball inside the Auburn 10, Missouri had a chance to punch in a touchdown with less than a minute remaining to leave no doubt on the win.

Missouri opted for a field goal. Harrison Mevis missed a 26-yarder to send the game into overtime.

Drinkwitz said after the game he would handle the end of regulation the same if he had another shot. He wanted to make Auburn use all of its timeouts.

"You get a chance to end the game on your last play," Drinkwitz said. "You know before half they move the ball right down the field and give themselves a chance for a field goal, plus they had two timeouts. So we wanted to take their timeouts."

Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz calls a timeout during the second quarter against Auburn on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala.
Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz calls a timeout during the second quarter against Auburn on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala.

On the defense's performance

When Missouri's offense struggled, the defense was there to pick up the slack.

With an Auburn team that was missing its first- and second-string quarterbacks due to injury, the defense did everything it could to make sure that Auburn offense couldn't build momentum.

This included a fourth-down stop that gave Missouri the opportunity to drive down deep into Auburn territory with a chance to win it in regulation.

"They played their butt off," Drinkwitz said of the defense. "Gave us a chance to win. Did everything they could."

On Mizzou's resilience

Now, Missouri will need to pick up the pieces again. After an agonizing loss, it's up to Drinkwitz to re-center the group.

"This is going to be a resilient team," Drinkwitz said. "They'll come back. That's my job to get them back."

Drinkwitz built this team with transfers and highly rated recruits, including five-star Luther Burden.

"That was the team I know I had going into the season, the team I know I have going forward," Drinkwitz said. "I'll go to bat with those guys anytime."

More:How did last-second decision-making fare? Postgame grades from Mizzou's loss

On what he learned about Mizzou

There was heartbreak, but there was growth.

Certainly, this wasn't the same team that stared down Kansas State and kept falling into a greater hole. This team was able to have a chance to win with the time winding down.

It didn't happen Saturday. But it allowed Drinkwitz to believe his team took its next, albeit painful step.

"Two weeks ago, we get down 13-0, didn't have the same mentality," Drinkwitz said. "This time we were down 14 and put ourselves in a position to win the game twice. So a lot of growth there. Now, we've got to finish. Now, it's on to the next step, which is finish. Take the losses and make them into lessons and keep on going."

This article originally appeared on Columbia Daily Tribune: What Eli Drinkwitz said after Mizzou's agonizing loss to Auburn