Maty Mauk struggled with a relatively new and inexperienced receiver corps. Star running back Russell Hansbrough was lost for the game after injuring his ankle on the first carry of the game. But none of that mattered as the Missouri defense shut down Southeast Missouri State en route to a 34-3 win Saturday.
What the win means for Missouri: The good news is that Hansbrough has already said he’s good to go for next week’s game at Arkansas State. The bad news is that the Missouri running game was nonexistent without him. Ish Witter and Tyler Hunt never found much room behind an offensive line that was without center Evan Boehm for most of the game. The offense needs to improve, but at least first-year defensive coordinator Barry Odom had reason to be happy.
What the loss means for SE Missouri State: The Redhawks almost took down Kansas last year, and they weren’t exactly blown out by Missouri on Saturday. The defense caused Missouri problems, which should bode well as they head into conference play.
Top play: Mauk tossed a couple of nice touchdown passes. Even true freshman Drew Lock threw a 78-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Hunt. But the play of the game came late in the third quarter when Missouri linebacker Kentrell Brothers blocked a punt that was returned 41 yards for a touchdown by teammate Aarion Penton. It essentially put the game away for the Tigers.
Player of the game: Speaking of Brothers, he was all over the field for this Missouri defense. The senior linebacker finished second in the SEC in tackles (122) last year, and he’s well on his way to taking the top spot this year after recording a career-high 16 tackles on Saturday. At this rate, he might have 200 tackles by the end of the season.