In front of 60,589, half of whom were baking in the sun, Missouri moved to 1-0 with a 38-18 win over South Dakota State. It was almost exactly what was projected (36-16 was the F/+ prediction), but it was certainly frustrating at times. After gaining 217 yards in 23 plays in the first quarter and taking a 21-7 lead, Mizzou's offense went off track. The Tigers gained just 50 yards in 19 plays over the next two quarters. A couple of quick possessions, combined with a couple of solid SDSU drives, allowed the Jackrabbits to cut the Tigers' lead to 21-18 early in the third quarter. But Marcus Murphy returned a kickoff for a touchdown, Maty Mauk found Bud Sasser for a 29-yard score, and the Tigers cruised from there.
This game more or less reaffirmed what we assumed were Missouri's strengths and weaknesses. Russell Hansbrough rushed 20 times for 126 yards, and the running game as a whole looked fine. Meanwhile, after rushing for a 75-yard score on his first carry, SDSU's Zach Zenner, a two-time 2,000-yard rusher for SDSU, gained just 28 yards on 16 more carries. On the flipside, the passing game was quite hit-or-miss -- three gorgeous touchdown passes gained 112 yards while Maty Mauk's other 18 pass attempts gained just 66 -- and the pass defense had some shaky moments, mostly in the third quarter.
SDSU's offense, however, was successful on basically one long touchdown run and one sustained drive; Missouri's defense wobbled briefly but, despite sketchy time of possession, made quite a few plays in the second half.
Mizzou heads to Toledo next week. We'll break down SDSU in the coming days, then turn our attention to the Rockets. (Good to see some of you at today's tailgate.)