Missouri’s passing game generated 319 yards as quarterbacks Maty Mauk and Drew Lock combined to complete 18 of 32 passes with three touchdowns in a 34-3 win against Southeast Missouri in season-opening action Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Mauk also threw an interception, a pretty bad one on a back-footed lob down the sideline into double coverage.
Safety Eriq Moore picked off Mauk inside the Southeast Missouri 5-yard line, so the throw on third-and-7 effectively acted as a punt.
It also robbed senior Andrew Baggett of the chance to try a 51-yard field goal with the wind at his back and possibly robbed the 24th-ranked Tigers of points.
Mauk had another interception overturned on review. It was another poor throw, but there were two receivers in the same area on that play — usually an indication someone ran a wrong/poor route.
“There was a lot of mistakes out there of route adjustments and things like that,” Pinkel said. “Maybe we have to do some things offensively as a staff to minimize those adjustments.”
On balance, it was an encouraging performance.
Missouri’s passing game was a mess during the spring but showed significant growth during fall camp, so Saturday’s win was largely a validation of the progress made in the last eight months.
“Those guys came out and executed the offense,” Mauk said. “Yeah, there was a couple throws that I missed or maybe a couple balls that we dropped, but that’s football. They’re going to come out here on Tuesday and be fired up. To have that first start under their belt in front of a big crowd, big stage, it’s going to help them.”
The game marked the first career start for three receivers — sophomores J’Mon Moore and Nate Brown, who also caught their first career touchdown passes, and redshirt freshman Keyon Dilosa.
Dilosa, fellow redshirt freshmen DeSean Blair and Thomas Richard and true freshman Emanuel Hall caught their first career passes, while that quartet played their first college game along with redshirt freshman Raymond Wingo.
“As long as we’re getting a great attitude and a great work ethic out of them, we’ve got to be very positive with those guys and that’s what we’re going to be …,” Pinkel said. “A lot of those guys were scared to death as competitors, first time playing here and first time getting out there. I think they responded well, and I think they’ll gain some confidence from it but also understand that we’ve got to improve.”
The game also marked the first college game for Lock, sophomore left guard/center Alec Abeln, freshman punter Corey Fatony, redshirt freshman defensive ends Spencer Williams and Walter Brady, redshirt freshman linebackers Brandon Lee and Grant Jones, freshman defensive tackle Josh Moore, freshman linebacker Terez Hall, redshirt freshman cornerback Finis Stribling IV, freshman safety Cam Hilton, sophomore running back Chase Abbington, redshirt freshman lineman Sam Bailey, Kevin Pendleton and Paul Adams, freshman defensive tackle Terry Beckner Jr. and freshman defensive end Nate Howard.