Columbia, MO - Mizzou football did what they were supposed to do on Saturday night, defeating Southeast Louisiana 62-10 in the season opening game for both teams. But it was the way that the Tigers won that made for a unique evening.
Mizzou used four non-offensive touchdowns to pull away from the Lions.
It started in the first quarter with an interception return for a TD from Zaviar Gooden followed later in the quarter by a Michael Sam 7 yard fumble return for 6 points. It marked the first time the Tigers have had multiple defensive touchdowns in the same game since they did it in 2006 at Texas Tech.
"Defensive scores are momentum plays," said Missour head coach Gary Pinkel. "They get the team going and give your team a boost."
This game was not just about the defense, however. The Special teams grabbed their share of the spotlight as well, specifically Marcus Murphy. The sophomore became the first Missouri Tigers to ever return 2 punts for touchdowns in the same game. Murphy found the endzone from distances of 70 and 72 yards.
Somewhat lost in the shuffle was the performance of the actual offense.
Junior quarterback James Franklin was a pedestrian 13 of 21 for 131 yards and a touchdown. He was aided though by the running game. Kendial Lawrence picked up 124 yards on 10 carries, including a 76 yard touchdown scamper, one of his two scores on the day.
Much hyped receiver Dorial Green-Beckham finished with just 3 catches for 32 yards, but showed a glimpse of the athleticism that made him teh nation's top recruit when he made a tight-rope catch along the sideline for a 29 yard gain.
"He went out and got a chance to play," said Pinkel. It was nice to see him make that athletic play on the sideline. He did some good things."
62,173 fans saw Mizzou open their season with a victory. That didn't go unnoticed by the head coach. "It was good to see the students out even with the rain and the three day weekend. We hope to ahve those numbers in the 70's moving forward in our next home games."
The Tigers next home game shouldn't lack for a great crowd. Mizzou welcomes in #6 Georgia next Saturday night. It will be the Tigers' first conference game in the SEC and their first chance to prove themselves as contenders in the SEC East division.