Key play: Senior wide receiver Bud Sasser ran down Jordan Haden after he intercepted Maty Mauk, forcing a fumble inside the Tigers’ 10-yard line. Fellow senior wide receiver Jimmie Hunt recovered the fumble, extending Missouri’s streak of consecutive games with a takeaway to 46 and preventing the Rockets from exploiting a short field.
Key stat: Missouri had 8 minutes, 43 seconds of possession. During a season-opening win against South Dakota State, the Tigers had fewer than 25 minutes compared to more than 35 for the Jackrabbits.
Key play: Special teams again was a difference-maker for Missouri, which had a blocked field-goal attempt by sophomore Harold Brantley and a 34-yard Marcus Murphy punt return (setting up the Tigers’ fourth touchdown) during the quarter.
Key stat: While it didn’t net any points, Missouri managed to run out the clock and get out from the shadow of its own goal line with a nine-play drive to finish the first half. The Tigers took over at their own 8-yard line with 3 minutes, 34 seconds remaining and reached Toledo territory before time ran out.
Key play: Missouri senior wide receiver Bud Sasser tiptoed down the sideline for a 25-yard touchdown that stemmed Toledo’s momentum. Missouri led 35-7 early in the period, but back-to-back Rockets’ touchdowns sandwiched around a Mauk interception tightened up the game before Sasser’s score.
Key stat: Toledo sophomore running back Kareem Hunt had five carries for 48 yards and two touchdowns, helping keep alive the threat of an upset. He had a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs that trimmed Missouri’s lead to 35-21 temporarily.
Key play: Mauk tossed the only touchdown of the quarter, a 12-yard bullet on third down to senior wide receiver Jimmie Hunt, that tied the Missouri single-game record for touchdowns passes (five).
Key stat: After going six of 19 on third down in its first game and a half, Missouri went six of nine converting third downs in the second half against Toledo. Mauk was six of 11 for 106 yards on third down, a marked improvement from the South Dakota State game.
Player of the game: Returning to his home state, sophomore quarterback Maty Mauk authored his best game as a college player. He established career-highs in completions, passing yards, passing touchdowns and total touchdowns, going 21 of 32 for 325 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. He also had 12 carries for 36 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown run.
Reason to hope: Much like last season, Missouri remains a curiosity in terms of how good the team can be. Also like last season, the Tigers rose to the occasion and exceeded expectations in a true early-season road test.
Reason to mope: Toledo sophomore Kareem Hunt gashed Missouri for 149 yards on 15 carries with three touchdowns. Tackling — or the inability to tackle, especially by the secondary — was an issue.
Looking ahead: Missouri returns home to play Central Florida at 11 a.m. next week in its SEC Network debut. The Knights had a bye this weekend after losing to Penn State on a last-second field goal last Saturday in Dublin, Ireland.
| Tod Palmer, email@example.com
Missouri topped 500 total yards and rolled up 49 points, so it’s hard to nitpick, especially after Maty Mauk’s career day. But there were two interceptions and the run game only averaged 3.8 yards per carry, gaining 177 yards on 49 attempts.
There were many big plays in the run game, which churned out 152 yards in 31 carries and averaged 4.9 yards per attempt, and benefited from poor tackling down the field. The Tigers’ D also got a red-zone stop and limited Toledo to six of 18 on third down.
Sophomore Harold Brantley’s blocked field-goal attempt and senior Marcus Murpy’s 34-yard punt return were game-changing plays in the first half. Senior Christian Brinser wasn’t perfect, but he didn’t allow any return yards on six kicks, while junior Andrew Baggett was perfect on seven extra points.
It was a homecoming for Missouri coach Gary Pinkel, who has won the most games in Toledo history, and several members of his staff. Dave Steckel, Cornell Ford, Brian Jones and Craig Kuligowski all coached on Pinkel’s Rockets staff. Missouri played fairly well despite the emotion.