It was a happy homecoming for Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel and the Missouri Tigers' starting quarterback Maty Mauk as Missouri (2-0) topped Toledo (1-1) 49-24 in front of a near capacity crowd at the Glass Bowl. In what many anticipated to be a challenging road test for the young Tigers, Missouri took an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a 16-yard Russell Hansbrough run and would never trail to the host Rockets. The Rockets, who have proved in the past to be power conference killers, especially inside the Glass Bowl, were never able to get on track defensively against the potent Missouri attack.
Pinkel, in his return to Toledo as both the all-time wins leader at UT and Missouri, saw his nationally ranked Tigers prove to be a mismatch for the often exploited Rocket defense. Mauk orchestrated four first half touchdown drives to provide a 28-7 lead that the Rockets were unable to overcome. The Tigers amassed over 500 yards of offense for the game and held a 28-7 halftime lead that would send many of the midnight blue and gold faithful back to the tailgate lots.
Mauk threw for 325 yards and five touchdowns and kept the Rocket defense on its heels from the opening whistle. Mauk, connected with four different receivers for touchdowns, including multiple touchdown strikes to receiver Jimmie Hunt, to please the large crowd of supporters that made the 70 mile drive to cheer on the Kenton, Ohio high school legend.
Toledo running back Kareem Hunt proved to be a bright spot against the Tigers' SEC defense as the sophomore accounted 148 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Two Hunt second half touchdowns cut the Tiger lead to 35-21, but a Mauk touchdown pass to Bud Sasser, opened the lead the 42-21 and the Rockets would get no closer.
Rocket starting quarterback Phillip Ely, was 17-34 for 204 yards and one interception, but left the field in the third quarter following a non-contact apparent knee injury. Logan Woodside, who competed with Ely for the starting position in camp, was brought in and finished 6-10 for 52 yards in what amounted to mop up duty.
After the game Toledo head coach Matt Campbell wouldn't say what Ely's injury was, but said it didn't look good. So this loss could wind up having long-term ramifications for the Rockets.
The Rockets (1-1) will need to regroup quickly as they head on the road against Cincinnati on Friday in what will be the Bearcats opening game at Paul Brown Stadium.