The 2013 Missouri Tigers enjoyed a welcoming amount of success in their second year in the Southeastern Conference. But as Mizzou stepped onto Faurot Field for the first time in 2014, that was rightfully forgotten. It's never good to harp on the past, and in this wacky world of college football, you're only as good as you're last game.
Well, consider Mizzou to be pretty good.
The South Dakota State Jackrabbits wound up at the mercy of an aerial assault by the Tigers, in which quarterback Maty Mauk tossed three touchdowns, as Mizzou picked up win number one in 2014, 38-18.
The marvelous Mauk, whose stellar play in the 10th month of the year earned Mizzou fans' designation of "Mauktober," comes into this season with something to prove. After all, his top three receiving targets -- Dorial Green-Beckham, Marcus Lucas, and L'Damian Washington -- had all departed, and even with them, Mauk had only completed 51.1 percent of his passes.
With a new trio around him, in the form of Bud Sasser, Darius White and Jimmie Hunt, Mauk still managed to play very well. He threw three touchdowns, two of them to Darius White, en route to 178 yards and a completion percentage of 61.9 percent (13-21). This aerial attack was highlighted by the third play from scrimmage, as Mauk found White for a 44-yard connection to the end zone.
Coming into the season, one of the other bright spots on offense was expected to be the Missouri running game. And on Saturday afternoon, the tailbacks proved exactly why. On 39 carries in the game, the Tigers rushed for 215 yards, including a 126-yard outburst from Russell Hansbrough. Hansbrough had an incredible touchdown run, in which he had to backpedal, and knife through defenders to break into the end zone.
While the Mizzou offense finessed their way against the Jackrabbits, the defense's performance leaves lot to be desired. Although they allowed 18 points, they were torched in the yardage department. Quarterback Zach Lujan threw for 246 yards, and the Jackrabbits ran for 119 yards. Zach Zenner, who compiled over 2,000 yards last season, started off on the right foot with a 103-yard performance. The Missouri defense certainly did what they needed to do to keep the game in hand, but it was a disconcerting performance to say the least.
Next week, Mizzou will be making a rare trip to Ohio, as they take on the Toledo Rockets of the MAC. The game will be televised on ESPN at 12:00 p.m. ET.