Gary Pinkel wanted to get Marcus Murphy more touches, and Murph made his coach look good Saturday.
The senior from DeSoto, Texas, returned a third-quarter kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown to help the 24th-ranked Tigers to a 38-18 win over South Dakota State on Faurot Field on Saturday. The run-back was Murphy's second kickoff return TD of his career, to go with three punt-return scores. Murphy finished with 204 all-purpose yards on 17 touches.
The win is Pinkel's 103rd at Mizzou, and his 14th against FCS competition.
Both teams got off to quick starts; on the game's third play from scrimmage - which already had featured a 19-yard gash on the ground from Russell Hansbrough - junior QB Maty Mauk found senior WR Darius White down the middle on a post route to give the Tigers (1-0) a 7-0 lead just 50 seconds into the game. White would add a second score down the right sideline late in the first quarter.
The Jackrabbits (0-1) evened the game up on its first play from scrimmage, however. SDSU's Zach Zenner - a 2,000-yard rusher the last two seasons - found the ball in his hands after an errant snap. Seventy-five yards later, Zenner had hit pay dirt.
It would be the last good news of the half for the Jackrabbits, as the Tiger defense held SDSU to 70 yards on 27 plays the rest of the opening 30 minutes.