The Missouri Tigers (1-0) opened their football season last weekend in a very lopsided way, blowing out Murray State (0-1) 58-14. Missouri QB, James Franklin threw for 318 yards and 3 touchdowns before leaving the game in the third quarter. Junior running back Henry Josey had 113 yards on just 13 carries, one of which was a 68 yard score.
The Tigers defense had a strong showing as well, only allowing 297 yards of total offense while also intercepting 3 passes.
This week, Mizzou will face a very confident Toledo Rocket (0-1) football team at home in Columbia, Missouri. This is the 2nd week in a row that the Rockets will square off against an SEC opponent. Last week, Toledo traveled to Florida (1-0) to face the No. 10 ranked Gators. While the Gators did come away with a victory, it was no cake walk.
Toledo played very tough but couldn’t over come the dominance of Florida’s defense. The Rockets only trailed by a 17-6 margin when their defense was able to come up with back-to-back stops in the third quarter. The momentum was in the Rockets favor until QB Terrance Owens threw an interception that was returned to their own 23 yard line. Florida scored 5 plays later, effectively sealing the game for them.
The Rockets are known to be a good football program. Last season they finished with a record of 9-4, making that their third consecutive winning season. They’re experienced too.
Toledo returns nine starters on offense, four on defense, as well as their starting kicker, punter and return man on special teams. They also have a game changing player in senior RB David Fluellen. The Gators limited his production last week, holding him to just 46 yards on 9 carries. He also caught three passes for 43 yards. Fluellen ran for 1,498 yards in 2012 and was eighth in the country with an average of 124.8 yards per game. Mizzou cannot sleep on him and his capabilities.
Their young defense played solid against the Gators as well, holding them to 415 yards total offense and coming up with several key stops. Toledo forced two fumbles that killed Gator drives. Senior defensive end Jayrone Elliot caused a forced fumble on a sack that came at a crucial point in the game. Mizzou needs to be ready for his pass rush when they’re facing third and long.
This is a reunion of sorts as well. Mizzou head coach Gary Pinkel will be facing a Toledo program that he coached for 10 seasons from 1991-2000. Pinkel was 73-37-3 for Toledo, giving him the most wins in school history. Pinkel was inducted into Toledo’s Varsity T Hall of Fame in 2009.
This won’t be an easy game for Mizzou. Toledo has to be confident in the way they played against a top ten team out of the SEC last week. Mizzou needs to not over look this opponent and come out efficient at all three phases of the game.
The game kicks off Saturday at 2:30 PM on ESPNU.