Saying that things may have come too easy and they may have lost their focus at times, Mizzou Head coach Gary Pinkel said there was plenty to be thankful for as the Tigers scored on offense, defense and special teams in a 62-10 win over Southeastern Louisiana on a rainy Saturday evening at Faurot Field.
The Tigers jumped out to a 28-0 within the first eight minutes of the game as the offense scored twice and the defense scored two touchdowns. Mizzou outgained the Lions 452-223 and forced four turnovers. Tailback Marcus Murphy etched his name in the record books for his huge night on special teams, returning two punts for touchdowns.
The first turnover and score from the defense came on SLU’s second play from scrimmage, after T.J. Moe caught a two yard touchdown pass from James Franklin on the opening drive of the game. Linebacker Zaviar Gooden picked off Nathan Stanley’s pass and went in untouched from 20 yards to give the Tigers a 14-0 lead, less than five minutes into the game. Up 21-0, the second turnover resulted in another touchdown, when New Madrid, MO. native Kony Ealy blasted Stanley at the 12 yard line. Michael Sam picked up the loose ball and took it in the final seven yards.
Coach Pinkel called those plays, huge momentum shifts.
AUDIO Pinkel on the defensive scores (:30)
Prior to Sam’s touchdown, Kendial Lawrence ripped off a 76 yard touchdown run. Lawrence’s roommate Jaleel Clark created a lane to the sideline with a huge block that sprang Lawrence down the sideline.
AUDIO Lawrence on his 76 yard score (:20)
Lawrence finished with 121 yards and two touchdowns on just ten carries.
The biggest highlights of the night came from Lawrence’s running mate Marcus Murphy. He became the first Missouri Tiger to return two punts for touchdowns in the same game. The first came late in the third quarter. Murphy had to weave his way left and right before finding a hole and finishing with a 70 yard score. The second came early in the fourth, a 72 yard sprint down the right sideline that ended with Murphy taking the punter with him into the endzone for the final two yards.
Murphy’s 180 punt returns yards broke a 45 year old record set by NFL Hall of Famer Roger Wehrli.
James Franklin hit T.J. Moe for a two-yard touchdown pass. 7-0 Mizzou.
Highlights of the drive:
–28 yard run by Franklin
–4th and 4 completion from Franklin to Eric Waters.
–Tiptoed catch by Bud Sasser for 19 yards to give the Tigers a first and goal from the nine.
Xavier Gooden, 20 yard INT return for a touchdown. 14-0 Mizzou
–On SE Louisiana’s second play from scrimmage, Gooden picked off a pass from Nathan Stanley and took it the distance for his first career touchdown. It was his third straight game with an interception.
Kendial Lawrence, 76 yard touchdown run. 21-0 Mizzou
–Play was set up by a great block sealing off the sideline by Jaleel Clark.
Michael Sam, seven yard fumble recovery for a touchdown. 28-0 Mizzou
–Kony Ealy popped the ball loose from Stanley as he dropped back to pass at the 12 yard line.
Seth Sebastian, 31 yard field goal for the Lions as time expired. 28-3 Mizzou
Kendial Lawrence, one yard touchdown run. 34-3 Mizzou
–Tigers recovered a fumble on the kickoff
–19 yard pass from Franklin to Moe, down to the one
Marcus Murphy, 70 yard punt return for a touchdown. 41-3 Mizzou
–longest since Jeremy Maclin returned a 75 punt for a score against Northwestern in the Alamo Bowl.
Jimmie Hunt, 10 yard pass from Corbin Berkstresser. 48-3 Mizzou
–capped off a five-play, 39 yard drive.
Berkstresser, one yard touchdown run. 55-3 Mizzou
–six play, 50 yard drive highlighted by 33 yard completion from Berkstresser to Hunt.
Murphy, 72 yard punt return. 62-3
–First time a Tiger has returned two punts for touchdowns in the same game.
–His 180 yards on five returns broke a 45 year old record set by NFL Hall of Famer Roger Wehrli.
Nathan Stanley to Jeff Smiley, 21 yard touchdown pass caps the scoring 62-10.