Wow. That was an impressive win. One of my favorite Bill C-isms is that, "Missouri exceeds expectations in the most frustrating way possible." Well, this was a game where Missouri exceeded expectations exactly as you would draw it up. Mizzou dominated on both sides of the ball, particularly at the line of scrimmage, got out to a lead and made the fourth quarter boring. The final score includes some early Mizzou redzone turnovers and a meaningless late Hoosier TD that were not indicative of the totality of Mizzou's domination.
1. Game ball to Steckel and the D.
Despite IU's 28 points, this was a masterpiece by Steck. The stretch on defense that ended the first half and extended through most of the third quarter was an absolutely sublime mix of scheme, speed, and power. My second favorite defensive play, obviously second to Kony Ealy's pick six, was Aarion Penton's fantastic take down of IUs talented WR, Cody Latimer, on a screen in the open field. But it was scarcely memorable in a game filled with quality defensive play. Indiana never found a rhythm and Mizzou found its pass rush. Their constant pressure really made it difficult for IU to execute their stuff. The Hoosiers don't blow you away with top-to-bottom athleticism. So, they have to be precise with their execution and they just weren't because of the defense. Add to that, Mizzou kept it up for four full quarters.
2. Early indications are that the o-line is better in pass pro, but looks balanced overall.
218 running back yards says the run game is fine. Mizzou only ran two or three different plays I think. So, nothing too fancy in the run game. In the passing game, I was quite impressed with the line's work against the blitz. Kevin Wilson's defense blitzed early, often, and from everywhere. We saw very few protection breakdowns. IU appeared to create the most pressure by keeping more people in coverage and waiting for Franklin to run himself into trouble. With around 11 minutes or so to go, the offensive line took over the game.
(If you are the type that just needs something to complain about, Franklin's pocket presence could use a bit of improvement. Also, his first quarter picks appear to have come versus a single high safety look. That raises the question of why Mizzou was running post routes toward safety rather than up the sideline or to the pylon.)