A slow start set up for a quick finish for No. 20 Missouri on Saturday.
Maty Mauk threw four more touchdowns to tie another Mizzou record, and the defense tallied six sacks and four takeaways to help the Tigers cruise to a 38-10 win over UCF at Faurot Field.
While Mauk led Missouri (3-0) to a touchdown on its first drive of the game on a nifty scrambling throw to Jimmie Hunt, a second-drive interception meant the Tigers' defense was on the field for fewer than four of the game's first 17 minutes of play. Yet the Tigers pulled ahead for good midway through the second quarter on Hunt's second TD grab of the game.
One of the anxious storylines at halftime involved the defense's lack of a takeaway, but the Tigers took care of that with plenty to spare in the final 20 minutes. Defensive tackle Josh Augusta made the play of the game with 3:41 left in the 3rd quarter, when he stuck his right hand up to deflect Justin Holman's pass at the line. The ball shot straight up, and Augusta made an athletic leap to snag the ball and give Mizzou its nation-leading 47th straight game with a takeaway.
Mauk found Sasser less than two minutes later to open the floodgates; his final TD to Sasser with 11:32 left in the game gave the redshirt freshman nine passing TD's in consecutive games, matching Chase Daniel's school record established in 2007.
The only two times the Knights (0-2) made it into Missouri territory in the second half, the Tigers stripped the ball loose. The second time around came in the final seconds of the game and with UCF driving; Ricky Hatley stripped Holman, and Duron Singleton scooped the ball up and raced 60 yards for the final margin.
The defense allowed just 134 yards on 40 UCF plays in the second half, and limited Holman to 12-of-23 passing for 112 yards and two interceptions.
The Tigers conclude their two-game homestand next Saturday vs. Indiana, in a 3 p.m. kick on the SEC Network.