TIGERS TURN TOWARD TOLEDO Mizzou (1-0) hits the road for the first time in 2014 as they take on the Toledo Rockets (1-0) Saturday at 11 a.m. (central time) in Toledo, Ohio. Both teams are coming off of home victories this past Saturday against ranked FCS opponents. Mizzou jumped to a 21-7 lead over South Dakota State, and was challenged, but pulled away for a 38-18 win, while Toledo fell behind 14-3 to New Hampshire, but rebounded for a solid 54-20 victory.
Saturday will mark a homecoming of sorts for Mizzou Head Coach Gary Pinkel, who was UT's head coach from 1991-2000 before coming to Mizzou for the 2001 season. Pinkel has the distinction of being the winningest coach in history at both schools - his 103 wins at MU is a program-best, and his 73 wins at Toledo also stands as the school's coaching wins record. Pinkel was inducted into the Toledo athletic hall of fame in February of 2009.
Pinkel has won four conference divisional titles at Mizzou (2007, 2008, 2010, 2013) and he also won three MAC West Division titles at Toledo (1997, 1998, 2000), while also winning the MAC title in 1995.
LAST TIME VS. THE ROCKETS Mizzou and Toledo will be meeting for just the second time ever, with last year's 38-23 Tiger win in Columbia serving as the first contest between the two schools. The game was tight throughout, as Mizzou held a slim 24-23 lead late in the third quarter. But the Tigers buckled down and put together a crucial 75-yard touchdown drive to end the third quarter for a 31-23 lead and a little breathing room, then they capitalized on a Toledo special teams miscue to account for the final score. A Toledo punt went just nine yards after it hit off a personal protector's back, and the Tigers took over at the UT 44-yardline. Ten plays later, Mizzou TB Marcus Murphy ran for an 8-yard touchdown, and Mizzou had a 38-23 lead with 10:29 left in the game. Toledo outgained Mizzou in total offense by a 387-384 margin, but Mizzou won the turnover margin 3-to-1, with all turnovers being interceptions. The Tigers had a key takeaway right before halftime, as safety Matt White intercepted a tipped ball in the MU endzone to stop a Rocket scoring opportunity.
One of the highlights of the entire 2013 season for Mizzou came as part of that win over Toledo, when DE Markus Golden got in the backfield to tip a pass attempt in the air to himself while pushing over Toledo QB Terrance Owens, grabbing the ball in midair, and running untouched 70 yards the other way for his first career touchdown. That huge play which came in the opening possession of the 3rd quarter, negated another Toledo scoring threat, and extended MU's lead to 24-9 at the time.