You could have heard a pin drop inside Columbia’s Memorial Stadium during the halftime festivities of Saturday’s meeting between Mizzou and UCF. Sure, the Tigers had a 14-10 lead, but a sluggish first half left the sun-drenched crowd wondering if their team could wind up on upset alert.After all, UCF dominated the time of possession in the first half by almost 10 minutes including one key third-and-long conversion after another.
“We’re a second half team,” Mizzou defensive tackle Lucas Vincent said after the game. “We come out, we punch you in the mouth and we knock you out in the second half.”
And punch them in the mouth, the Tigers certainly did. After consecutive punts in the third quarter, the previously quiet crowd rose to its’ feet after monstrous defensive tackle Josh Augusta snagged a deflected Justin Holman pass out of the air and secured it for Missouri’s first turnover of the game. The turnover led to a Maty Mauk to Bud Sasser touchdown connection and put Mizzou up for good as they would go on to score 31 unanswered points in the 38-10 victory.
Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk struggled in the first half as he accounted for a mere 41 passing yards and an ill-advised interception. In the second half, Mauk was much better as he threw for over 100 yards and three touchdowns. He also added to a steady rushing attack, producing 30 yards on six carries. Russell Hansbrough and Marcus Murphy accounted for over 150 yards between them, which is no small task considering the fact that UCF gave up a total of 47 yards rushing to Penn St. two weeks ago.
What matters now is that Missouri is 3-0 and will have a great chance to finish yet another non-conference schedule undefeated when they play host to a sub-par Indiana team next Saturday. Astonishingly, Mizzou has suffered only two out-of-conference defeats since the 2005 season. After passing two straight tests against substantial opponents, it is clear that you are going to have to start including Missouri’s name with teams like Georgia when it comes to possible SEC East representatives in Atlanta this december.