Missouri Tigers Defeat South Dakota State, 38-18


The Missouri Tigers won their opening game against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits, 38-18.

While the score seems lopsided, this game was a lot closer than it looks. The Tigers scored on their opening possession with a beautiful 44 yard touchdown throw from sophomore quarterback Maty Mauk to receiver Darius White. White split the two defensive backs deep and Mauk threaded the needle for the excellent opening drive.

The Jackrabbits answered, with a 75 yard run from Zach Zenner.

Missouri scored again on their second drive with another deep throw from Mauk to White, this time from 39 yards out. If you remember, Darius White was rated the 3rd best receiver out of ESPN’s top 300 back in 2010. White has struggled to live up that hype but with the release of Dorial Green-Beckham and others, he has a tremendous opportunity to step up and be a big difference maker for the Tigers offense this season.

Russel Hansbrough concluded the Tigers next drive with a 10 yard touchdown run. Hansbrough and Marcus Murphy are the two tailbacks that are replacing Henry Josey from last year. Both backs looked great, as Murphy made a couple of nice catches and also had a brilliant 100 yard kick return early in the third quarter.

Hansbrough finished the day with 20 carries for 126 yards and 1 touchdown. Behind the strength of his experienced offensive line, Hansbrough displayed good speed and power, proving that Missouri shouldn’t miss a beat with the loss of Josey.

Missouri went into half time with the 21-7 lead but came out flat in the second half.

South Dakota State opened the third quarter with a time-eating, 11 play drive that ended with a 39-yard field goal making the score 21-10. After a quick three-and-out from Mizzou, the Jackrabbits had another long drive of 10 plays that ended with a three yard touchdown run by Zach Zenner.

South Dakota State would convert on a two point conversion making it a 3 point game, 21-18.

With the momentum now on the Jackrabbits side, Missouri was able to return a HUGE kick return from Marcus Murphy of 100 yards giving the Tigers the ten point advantage.

Missouri’s defense was able to keep the Jackrabbits from scoring again the rest of the game and finished with three takeaways, extending their NCAA leading 45 game streak with at least one forced defensive takeaway.

However, the Missouri offense was stagnant after their hot start and at one point, had gone six straight possessions with two missed field goals and just one first down.

They were able to get it going again in the fourth quarter with Mauk’s third touchdown of the game, this time to Bud Sasser from 29 yards out. Tigers kicker, Andrew Bagget also redeemed himself with a late 44 yard field goal that sealed the 20 point win for the Tigers.

Missouri’s struggles on offense are a small area of concern only because Mauk is a sophomore with just four starts under his belt previous to today. Mauk has plenty of room for improvement while the Tigers rushing attack seems to be right where it should be.

Missouri rushed for 215 yards as a team while totaling 393 yards on the day.

Missouri travels to Toledo next week.