By: Sammy Stava
With a 51-14 win over Tennessee-Martin and a 40-13 win over Wyoming, Missouri has done everything they have been expected to do to start the 2018 season, improving to 2-0 for the first time under head coach Barry Odom. However, they needed to get through one more step to prove that the start of this season was going to be better than the 1-5 start last season, and that is beat a team that beat them 35-3 a season ago.
That team is Purdue, who finished 7-6 last season with a win over Arizona in the Foster Farms Bowl, but were 0-2 coming into Saturday night’s contest with Missouri, losing 31-27 to Northwestern, and 20-19 to Eastern Michigan. Though Barry Odom said on Tuesday during his weekly press conference that Purdue could “very, very easily” be 2-0. He’s right, as both of the Boilermakers’ losses came down to the final possession.
Since Purdue’s 35-3 over Missouri last season, the Boilermakers were 5-7, and the Tigers were 8-4, two teams heading into opposite directions. More importantly for Mizzou, they have looked like a completely different team since then. The defense looked completely different as well compared to their first two games this season, and not in a good way.
Missouri had to rely heavily on their senior quarterback Drew Lock, who finished 26-for-43 with 375 yards, three touchdowns (one rushing touchdown), and one interception. Believe it or not, Purdue quarterback David Blough had better numbers, going 39-for-55 with 572 yards, three touchdowns (one rushing touchdown), and one interception. Blough broke the Purdue record for most passing yards in a single-game, and it would be the second-most passing yards by a Big Ten quarterback ever.
David Blough’s career night wasn’t enough for a win, however, as Missouri prevailed 40-37 with a game-winning field goal from Tucker McCann. With the win, Missouri improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2015 (Gary Pinkel’s final season and Drew Lock’s freshman year). With the loss, Purdue dropped to 0-3 on the season, with their three losses coming by a combined eight points.
Missouri has now won nine straight regular season games dating back to last season, and got their first non-conference road win over a power five team since 2013 (at Indiana). During their nine-game regular season winning streak, Missouri has averaged 48.7 points per game (scoring 40 or more points in each game), and have scored in 35 out of their last 36 quarters during that span.
This victory was so important for Mizzou, because of their upcoming schedule, as they enter their toughest three-game stretch of the season (Georgia, at South Carolina, and at Alabama).
Georgia looms next Saturday at Faurot Field in a matchup of 3-0 undefeated teams. Kick-off is set for 11 a.m. CT on 550 KTRS.