Missouri amassed over 600 yards of total offense and took advantage of Indiana mistakes to roll to 45-28 victory over the Hoosiers before a crowd of 49,149 at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington on Saturday.
The 3-0 Tigers displayed their SEC pedigree with big, athletic playmakers and an attacking defensive front that kept the 2-2 Hoosiers off-balance the entire game.
After IU battled back from a 14-0 deficit to tie the game early in the second quarter, the Tigers displayed their dominance. Missouri senior quarterback James Franklin, a mid-round NFL draft prospect according to The Slant...2014 NFL Draft Guide, engineered the go-ahead drive, a 1-yard keeper that was set up with a perfectly thrown ball to wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham for 41-yards.
Franklin's ability to make plays with his feet and hit huge targets in Green-Beckham and fellow wideout Marcus Lucas kept a reeling Indiana defense on its heels throughout. Franklin shook off two early interceptions, both picked off by Indiana safety Greg Heban, to throw for 343 yards on 32-of-47 passing and two touchdowns.
Moreover, add the Tigers to the list of huge ground gainers allowed by the IU defense. Missouri carved up the Hoosiers for 280 yards on the ground, including 104-yards from backup RB Russell Hansbrough.
Conversely, the normally potent Indiana offense was neutralized by an aggressive Missouri pass rush. Trailing 21-14, IU QB Nate Sudfeld had his intended screen pass intercepted and returned for a 49-yard touchdown by Tigers DL Kony Ealy. The play sealed the Hoosiers fate and was symbolic of the evening as the Hoosiers injury-ravaged offensive line was no match for an attacking Missouri defensive unit. Sudfeld, forced to throw under pressure on most downs and hit repeatedly, suffered through a subpar evening before being lifted midway through the third quarter for Tre Roberson. Sudfeld completed 21-of-39 passes for 329 yards but was picked off three times.
Forced to play-from-behind, the Hoosiers running game never got going. Sophomore RB Tevin Coleman was limited to 54 yards on 15 carries, and the Hoosiers were held under 100 yards (98) on the ground.
Roberson gave IU a little spark, connecting with WR Shane Wynn on a 68-yard throw and catch for a score, but it was too little too late for the Hoosiers. Roberson's play could re-kindle the quarterback competition, as he completed 8-of-14 passes and provides a mobile dimension to the offense.
Whatever the case, Indiana has two weeks to lick its wounds and try to find some answers on defense before the Hoosiers kick off Big Ten play with a visit from Penn State.
Extra Points: IU junior WR Cody Latimer strung his second-consecutive strong peformance together. Latimer caught 8 passes for 136-yards....Missouri continued its theft streak by intercepting a pass for the 33rd straight game, and ninth in the first three contests....The Tigers first score was set up by a fake field goal attempt. Missouri lined up for a 35-yard field goal, but holder Braylon Webb caught IU defenders flat-footed, picking up the first down and more when the Hoosiers were flagged for a horse collar tackle. Missouri scored on the next play when Franklin hit Green-Beckham for a 7-yard TD.