The Missouri Tigers (3-0, 0-0) are starting to see the value of the 11 starters who don’t play offense. While the Tigers have one of the nation’s highest scoring offenses – ranked eighth nationally at 47 points per game – and a dynamic playmaker at quarterback, James Franklin, it was Missouri’s defense that made a game-changing play against Indiana last week.
Kony Ealy, a 275-pound defensive end, leaped up late in the first half, plucked Nate Sudfeld‘s throw out of the air and sprinted 49 yards for a TD that changed the game and led unbeaten Missouri to a surprisingly easy 45-28 victory at Indiana.
The Tigers are quietly becoming quite opportunistic on defense. Ealy’s interception extended Missouri’s streak of consecutive games with a turnover to 33. It was the second time in two games that a Missouri defensive lineman scored on an interception return, and this time, even the high-scoring Hoosiers couldn’t recover.
That’s because things haven’t changed much on the other side of the ball – offensively, the Tigers are as dangerous as ever. Franklin threw for 343 yards and two touchdowns while running for another score, two receivers topped the 100-yard mark and Russell Hansbrough ran 13 times for 104 yards, sealing the deal with a late 45-yard TD run.
What to look for in Week 5: More signs that suggest Missouri is a budding threat to the top dogs in the SEC East. If the Tigers continue to improve defensively and put up staggering offensive numbers, Mizzou could be poised to get revenge on the big three – Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.