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Bears down: Defensive struggles and school records collide in Mizzou’s 72-43 win over Missouri State

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Mizzou moves to 1-0 in 2017 in an offensive showcase.

NCAA Football: Missouri State at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Confidence in Mizzou’s offense and concerns about Mizzou’s defense formed quite the combination as Missouri beat Missouri State 72-43 in advance of the beginning of SEC play.

Missouri unleashed an offensive juggernaut at Faurot Field Saturday. It was a unit that was scary, scary good, even considering the competition, and Drew Lock was the ringleader.

Lock broke the school single-game passing touchdown record with seven scores through the air, while also breaking Jeff Handy’s 25-year old single-game passing yard record with 521 yards in his best performance in a Mizzou uniform. The Mizzou offense as a whole broke another single-game school record with 815 total yards, including 202 on the ground from tailback Damarea Crockett.

Mizzou had to go aggressive offensively, however, because the Bears capitalized on a more-than-poor performance from the Tiger defense in the first half. They scored 35 points in the opening 30 minutes, forcing Mizzou into a first-half shootout.

The Bears eventually finished with 492 yards of offense on their own, but only one touchdown in the second half as Mizzou looked a much-improved unit after the intermission.

Let’s look at the best (and worst) bits!

FIRST HALF

Drew Lock was firing from the very start, with Mizzou’s first play from scrimmage resulting in a score. Johnathon Johnson turned a short pass into a long score and six points only, since kicker Tucker McCann missed the ensuing PAT.

MIzzou Touchdown GIF
Drew Lock 65-yard touchdown to Johnathon Johnson

Those early fireworks opened the fray for a (not-so) fun game of back-and-forth from the Mizzou and Missouri State offenses for a little while. The rest of the first quarter would feature a whole lotta points and yardage, and a whole lack of punts and defensive stops.

Bears quarterback Peyton Huslig threw a passing score of his own on the ensuing drive, but Crockett got the lead back for Mizzou after being set up by a 35-yard pass play from Lock to J’Mon Moore.

MIzzou Touchdown GIF
Damarea Crockett 8-yard touchdown run

Johnson teamed up with Lock for the pairing’s second score of the first quarter after Missouri State tailback Calan Crowder scored, with Lock going 3-for-3 for 41 yards on a five-play drive.

MIzzou Touchdown GIF
Drew Lock 28-yard touchdown to Johnathon Johnson

Lock threw an interception on Mizzou’s next series in one of the junior quarterback’s few mistakes, but the Tigers did force a punt and later a Logan Cheadle interception en route to another long passing score from Lock with 11:06 to go in the first half.

MIzzou Touchdown GIF
Drew Lock 50-yard touchdown to J’Mon Moore

Tight end Jason Reese got in on the bonanza, too. He caught Lock’s fourth touchdown of the half after an eight-play, 64-yard drive with 7:12 to go before the intermission, responding to Bear tailback Nick Masoner’s rushing score a drive earlier.

MIzzou Touchdown GIF
Drew Lock 11-yard touchdown to Jason Reese

After a defensive letdown allowed Huslig to go for an 89-yard passing score to Malik Earl (on a third-and-24, no less), Lock tied the school record with his fifth touchdown pass in response, his second to Moore.

MIzzou Touchdown GIF
Drew Lock 50-yard touchdown to J’Mon Moore

Things went much better from here on out. Mizzou’s offensive tempo continued while Missouri State’s slowed. But before the Tigers could get to the break, Crockett bursted in for a red-zone score.

MIzzou Touchdown GIF
Damarea Crockett 11-yard touchdown run

SECOND HALF

Lock got the record-breaking score late in the third quarter, ending a four-play, 48-yard drive with his sixth touchdown and history. Also, it was tight end Albert Okwuegbunam’s first career trip to the end zone.

MIzzou Touchdown GIF
Drew Lock 27-yard touchdown to Albert Okwuegbunam

Huslig ran for a score and threw for a two-point conversion on the first play of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 58-43, but Lock helped seal the deal with his final passing score of the day on Mizzou’s responding drive.

MIzzou Touchdown GIF
Drew Lock 14-yard touchdown to Dominic Collins

Larry Rountree III managed to get in on the action too, in his first carries as a Tiger. The true freshman’s score with 6:47 left in the game closed the book on a wild, weird and wonderful season opener for Mizzou.

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Larry Rountree III 2-yard touchdown run

Where do we go from here?

The SEC opener at home against South Carolina next Saturday at 6:30 p.m.