The Missouri Tigers took care of business Saturday, using a huge second half to open up the flood gates against UCF.
Maty Mauk continued his stellar play, throwing for 144 yards and four touchdowns in the Tigers’ 38-10 win.
Neither offense was spectacular and Missouri only mounted 2o more total yards on the day.
But it was Missouri’s defense that was the difference in the game.
After the departures of Kony Ealy and Michael Sam, many were wondering who would step up in their place.
Defensive ends Markus Golden and Shane Ray each sacked Holman twice and proved the Tigers just reload on the defensive line.
“Each week me and Marcus just go out and try to play to the best of our abilities, make as many plays as we can,” stated Ray. “It doesn’t really matter if Marcus is in the spotlight or I’m in the spotlight as long as we are doing what we are supposed to do as a defense.”
After a close first half, Missouri’s defense turned it up a few notch. UCF quarterback Justin Holman was pressured numerous times and the Tigers defense caused four turnovers and five sacks on the day.
In the third quarter and UCF driving, Missouri caused the turnover that changed the momentum of the game after Justin Holman’s pass was tipped in the air and brought down by defensive lineman Josh Augusta for the interception. It was the 47th consecutive game the Tigers have caused a turnover which leads the nation.
In the ensuing drive, Mauk found wide receiver Bud Sasser on a 21 yard touchdown, bumping the lead up to 11, 21-10.
The Knights could sustain any drives after that.
The Mauk, Sasser combination contented into the fourth quarter when the two connected for a 22 yard touchdown which put away the Knights for good.
Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel says Mauk still has a lot to improve on.
“Wait until he gets good,” said Pinkel. “There are a lot of things out there that he can do to improve and he knows that. He’s a great, gamey player, but he can get considerably better.”
Missouri moved to 3-0 on the season and will face Indiana this Saturday at 3 p.m. ET.
UCF will look to win their first game of the year on Saturday versus Bethune-Cookman at 6 p.m. ET.
*Section Photo credit to Ronald Martinez, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Jamie Squire, Getty Images