Keys to the game
Missouri: The tight ends. Albert Okwuegbunam had three touchdowns and combined for 119 yards receiving with Kendall Blanton, a Blue Springs native. The duo were reliable targets for quarterback Drew Lock on Saturday and also had some key blocks to open up the run game.
Idaho: Kade Ellis. The middle linebacker had three tackles-for-loss and a sack against a veteran Missouri offensive line and did what he could to disrupt the Tigers multi-faceted offense. He also had a quarterback hurry and led the Vandals with nine total tackles.
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Lock threw an interception to Vandals free safety Armond Hawkins on the very first play of the game. The Missouri quarterback stared down receiver Johnathon Johnson and gave the defense too much time to read him, giving Idaho excellent field position for its first drive. The Vandals scored a few plays later to take a 7-0 lead, giving the impression that Missouri could be in for a long day. The Tigers scored on the following drive and didn’t look back.
Drew Lock threw for six touchdowns and true freshman Larry Rountree III stepped up with 97 yards rushing in the absence of running back Damarea Crockett, who was out with a shoulder injury. This is the kind of performance Missouri should have against a team that will go to the FCS division next year and the Tigers took care of business quick enough to rest Lock for the whole fourth quarter.
Missouri snapped its streak of giving up 30 points or more to opposing offenses and unveiled its new third-down package, which featured true freshman defensive end Chris Turner lined up inside and defensive backs Josh Bledsoe and Cam Hilton both on the field. It seemed to do the job, but it remains to be seen how it will hold up against SEC teams. Terry Beckner Jr. had two sacks and powered a Missouri pass rush that had been MIA for most of the season.
Starting kicker Tucker McCann was suspended for a violation of team rules but backup Nick Bartolotta was fine except for one missed extra point. Richaud Floyd had an 85-yard punt return for a touchdown and 136 all-purpose yards, a performance Missouri has not seen on special teams since Marcus Murphy.