Mizzou Pours it on in Season Opener

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) Drew Lock had a record-setting day for Missouri, throwing for 521 yards and seven touchdowns as the Tigers beat Missouri State 72-43 on Saturday in the season opener.

“Drew played about as good as I’ve seen him play,” Missouri Coach Barry Odom said. “He’s practiced at that level most of fall camp, and I was excited to see it carry over.”

The previous passing touchdown record was five, shared by Chase Daniel, Maty Mauk and Lock. The previous yardage record was 480, set by Jeff Handy against Oklahoma State in 1992.

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“It’s really cool to break these records,” Lock said. “Thinking about all the guys that played quarterback in my position that I grew up watching, idolizing, that are now I was tied with them last year, now I get to bump up ahead of them.”

While Lock’s exploits were a nice bonus for Missouri, the fact he was still piling up statistics in the fourth quarter was a troubling sign that the MU defense couldn’t get enough stops to turn a game against an FCS opponent into a blowout.

“We didn’t play worth a darn (defensively) in the first half,” Odom said. “We tackled poorly. I thought our intensity wasn’t very good.”

Missouri scored on the first play from scrimmage. Lock threw a quick perimeter pass to Johnathon Johnson, and Johnson veered around a downfield block from Dimetrios Mason and raced 65 yards down the right sideline to the end zone. The next two drives also resulted in touchdowns and required only two and four plays, respectively, as Lock continued dissect the Bears’ secondary.

Missouri State was a bit more deliberate but no less effective early, scoring touchdowns on their first three drives including touchdown runs of 75 and 34 yards by Calan Crowder and held a 21-20 lead after the first quarter. The Bears continued to rip off big plays, and the biggest was Malik Earl’s 89-yard tackle-breaking touchdown reception on a third-and-24 play in the second quarter.

The Tigers led 48-35 at halftime. The scoring pace slowed a bit in the second half, but Missouri finished with a school-record 815 yards against a team coached by Dave Steckel, a former Mizzou defensive coordinator.

Earl had eight catches for 163 yards, and Crowder rushed 11 times for 124 yards. Peyton Huslig completed 24 of 35 passes for 353 yards and two touchdowns for the Bears.

“He did a really good job,” Steckel said of Huslig. “He’s got this calm confidence about himself that really helped guide the offense to keep coming back and answering.”

Lock completed 21 of 34 passes. J’Mon Moore had four catches for 187 yards and two touchdowns.

Missouri’s Damarea Crockett carried 18 times for 202 yards and two touchdowns, and he could have had one more score. On a breakaway run in the third quarter, he unnecessarily leaped into the end zone from the 2-yard line and was called for unsportsmanlike conduct. The touchdown was wiped out and the ball was moved back to Missouri State’s 17-yard line. The Tigers settled for a field goal.

TAKEAWAYS

Missouri State: The Bears lost the game but found a quarterback. Huslig, a sophomore making his first start after guiding Garden City (Kan.) Community College to the junior college national championship last season, was sharp in his debut.

Missouri: After ranking 118th nationally in total defense last season, the Tigers hoped for improvement in Year 2 of coach Odom’s tenure. Odom, a former defensive coordinator who still calls the defensive signals, watched his team give up 492 yards to the FCS Bears in the opener. That’s an ominous sign for the season ahead.

UP NEXT

Missouri State: The Bears will visit FCS opponent North Dakota.

Missouri: The Tigers open Southeastern Conference play at home against South Carolina.

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