Key play: Senior running back Russell Hansbrough rattled off a 20-yard run on Missouri’s second play, but came up gimpy. He returned for another carry, but was shut down by the Tigers’ medical staff shortly thereafter.
Key stat: Missouri outgained Southeast Missouri 123-8 in the first quarter, with quarterback Maty Mauk going five of nine for 93 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
Key play: Around 3:59 p.m., freshman quarterback Drew Lock fired a pass into the flat for a 4-yard gain to tight end Sean Culkin. It was the first snap of Lock’s college career, and he went four of five for 51 yards in leading the Tigers to a field goal.
Key stat: Missouri’s inability to establish the running game after Hansbrough left prevented the Tigers from building on a 17-0 lead. Aside from Hansbrough, the Tigers totaled 7 yards on 12 first-half carries.
Key play: It had been kind of a sleepy third quarter after Missouri’s opening drive netted a field goal, but Kentrell Brothers’ block of a Tay Bender pooch punt and Aairon Penton’s 41-yard return for a touchdown rewarded the crowd that remained.
Key stat: Penton’s touchdown was the 26th defensive score for Missouri since 2010. That ties Florida for the fourth-most defensive touchdowns in the nation during that span.
Key play: Under pressure, freshman quarterback Lock scrambled to buy time before rolling left and spotting running back Tyler Hunt all alone deep down the field along the far sideline. One heave and 78 yards later, Lock and Hunt both had their first career touchdowns.
Key stat: Senior kicker Andrew Baggett made a fourth-quarter extra point, giving him 10 points for the game and 302 for his career. He needs 61 points to break Jeff Wolfert’s career scoring record.
Player of the game: Senior linebacker Kentrell Brothers finished with a career-high 16 tackles, including eight solo tackles. He also had a team-high 1 1/2 tackles for loss and blocked a punt that Aarion Penton returned for a touchdown.
Reason to hope: Quarterbacks Maty Mauk and Drew Lock combined to complete 18 of 32 passes for 319 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Ten different players caught at least one pass, and the offensive line held up well, though there are better tests of that pass protection on the horizon.
Reason to mope: Depth has been a concern for the Missouri running game throughout the offseason. Senior tailback Russell Hansbrough, who topped 1,000 yards last season is a proven commodity, but when he left because of an injury the Tigers’ run game struggled.
Looking ahead: Missouri faces a much-tougher test next Saturday at Arkansas State, but the way the defense played should inspire a lot of confidence. Defense travels well, but an improved running game wouldn’t hurt.
The run game struggled after Russell Hansbrough’s injury, but quarterbacks Maty Mauk and Drew Lock played well despite some bogged-down, purposely conservative moments after the first quarter.
We’ll reserve an A+ for a shutout against an FCS opponent, but Missouri’s defense was rock solid, allowing only 201 yards, 10 first downs and 3.1 yards per play.
Aarion Penton returned a blocked punt for a touchdown, freshman punter Corey Fatony was impressive in his debut, senior Andrew Baggett was perfect and the coverage units didn’t get seriously gashed.
Gary Pinkel and his staff’s job is to put guys in position to succeed. With so much youth at so many positions, MU did a masterful job in the opener.