COLUMBIA, Mo. – Kevin Sumlin set the scene tersely after walking off the field Saturday night.
"There's not a whole lot of positives when you lose," the Texas A&M coach said.
The 19th-ranked Aggies held the ball with 8:59 remaining against No. 5 Missouri, but only managed one yard in their final three possessions en route to a 28-21 loss.
"It's a pretty tough pill to swallow right now," wide receiver Travis Labhart said.
Quarterback Johnny Manziel was held in check for the second straight week, throwing one touchdown pass and rushing for 21 yards on 11 carries. He was 24 for 35 for 195 yards. He threw for less than 200 yards for the first time since gaining 94 through the air in the opener against Rice.
Manziel appeared to be shaken up in the second quarter after a hit by Missouri's Andrew Wilson, and received attention with his knee on the sideline. He had been dealing with a thumb injury in recent weeks, but didn't miss any time Saturday.
"He's had better performances, he's had worse performances," Sumlin said. "There's pressure on him to perform at a high level all the time. . Whenever you don't win, everything focuses on that. There's a lot of people out there playing besides him."
The Aggies (8-4, 4-4 Southeastern Conference) allowed 225 rushing yards, including a 57-yard game-winning touchdown run by Henry Josey with 3:34 remaining. The team has one of the worst defenses against the run in the nation, allowing 221 yards per game entering the night. Until Josey's breakaway run, the Aggies had done a nice job.
"We sold the ranch and tried to win the game, but missed the hit in the hole," defensive coordinator Mark Synder said.
Starting from Missouri's 34-yard-line, Josey carried for four yards and quarterback James Franklin ran for 5 yards. Josey then busted free up the middle on third-and-1.
Texas A&M never threatened the rest of the game.
The loss gave Sumlin his first two-game losing streak with the school in two seasons.
Missouri (11-1, 7-1) rode its strong second half to wrap up the SEC East in just its second season in the league.
The Tigers advance to the conference championship game against Auburn — a matchup of schools very lightly regarded before the season. Missouri has made a six-win improvement from its initial SEC season and fourth-ranked Auburn (11-1, 7-1) has topped last year's total by eight after stunning No. 1 Alabama.
Thousands of fans among a sellout crowd of 62,197 — nearly all of them clad in black, stormed the field after the game ended. The field wasn't cleared for at least 20 minutes.
Missouri had been 11-44 under Pinkel when trailing at the half. Pinkel has 101 wins in 13 seasons at Missouri, tied for Don Faurot for most in school history.
Texas A&M's Tra Carson broke two tackles on a 31-yard scoring run that was also the first touchdown allowed by Missouri in the first quarter in six games. Derel Walker's 32-yard reception made it 14-7 late in the half.
Walker's score came just 1:10 after Franklin's 38-yard touchdown pass to L'Damian Washington. Manziel rolled out to buy time and Michael Sam tackled him a beat too late.
Early in the second quarter, Missouri failed to capitalize on a lost fumble by punt returner De'Vante Harris at the A&M 36. Backup Maty Mauk got his usual early series at quarterback and Missouri lost a yard on three plays before punting.