FACTS & STATS: Site: Faurot Field (67,124) -- Columbia, Missouri. Television: ESPN U. Home Record: Toledo 0-0, Missouri 1-0. Away Record: Toledo 0-1, Missouri 0-0. Neutral Record: Toledo 0-0, Missouri 0-0. Conference Record: Toledo 0-0, Missouri 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Missouri Tigers will attempt to open a season 2-0 for the first time since 2010 on Saturday afternoon when they welcome the Toledo Rockets to Faurot Field.
Toledo challenged itself early in its schedule with a pair of SEC contests. It opened the season by traveling into hostile territory in Gainesville, and while it fought hard for four quarters, it ultimately was no match for 10th- ranked Florida, losing 24-6. With the setback, the Rockets fell to 2-8 in their last 10 season openers.
Toledo had not played an SEC school in its 93-year history and will now play a team from that conference for the second straight week.
Missouri came out of the gates somewhat sluggish in its opener, as it was losing to Murray State at home after one quarter of play, but from there it kicked things into high gear, reeling off 45 unanswered points to come away with a 58-14 victory. Head coach Gary Pinkel has won 91 games with the Tigers and is just 10 wins away from tying Don Faurot's program record.
This clash marks the first time these two programs have met. Missouri will visit Toledo next season.
The Rockets had one of the Mid-American Conference's most potent offenses a year ago, but in the opener against one of the nation's most ferocious defenses, they had a difficult time getting off the ground, managing just 205 yards and 12 first downs while controlling the ball for less than 21 minutes.
Senior quarterback Terrance Owens struggled mightily against the Gators, completing fewer than 50 percent of his passes (17-of-38) for 155 yards with zero touchdowns and an interception. He was also a non-factor on the ground with just four rushing yards.
David Fluellen, fresh off a season in which he rushed for 1,498 yards and 13 touchdowns, gained 46 yards on nine carries and added another 42 receiving yards on three catches.
Bernard Reedy provided a stable target for Owens, hauling in seven balls for 50 yards.
Toledo's defense could not get off the field against the Gators, allowing 415 total yards while losing the time of possession battle by nearly a two-to-one margin, but it should be considered a small success that it held the Gators to just 24 points.
Junior Sylvestre (11 tackles) and Trent Voss (10 tackles) both registered double-digit stops, while Cheatham Norrils had a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery on the same play. Jayrone Elliot also had a sack and a forced fumble.
After a slow start, the Missouri offense made up for lost time by racking up an astounding 694 yards against Murray State.
James Franklin's senior season got off to an outstanding start, as he completed 26-of-38 passes for 318 yards and three touchdowns, finding 11 different receivers in the process. He also added 44 rushing yards for good measure.
Franklin wasn't the only one to find running room on the day. The Tigers racked up 358 rushing yards, paced by Henry Josey's 113 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Russell Hansbrough ripped off a couple of big plays -- including a 51-yard touchdown run in the first quarter -- to finish with 104 yards on just eight totes.
Dorial Green-Beckham tallied 83 yards on four receptions, while L'Damian Washington, Darius White and Jimmie Hunt all reeled in touchdowns.
Missouri's defense was caught off guard by Murray State's fast start but ultimately recovered, yielding less than 300 yards of total offense to the Racers.
Michael Sam led the team with seven tackles, two of which were behind the line of scrimmage. E.J. Gaines had two interceptions. Braylon Webb also had a pick, and Lucas Vincent, Josh Augusta and Kentrell Brothers each recorded a sack.
With a couple of potent offenses squaring off against some questionable defensive units, expect a shootout. The Rockets should find more success against the Tigers than they did versus the Gators, but in yet another tough road environment, expect Toledo to fall to 0-2 against a revamped Missouri squad hoping to make good on a lackluster 2012 campaign.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Missouri 42, Toledo 35
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