Sophomore Kareem Hunt rushed for 148 yards and three touchdowns but it wasn’t enough for Toledo to match No. 24 Missouri, as the Tigers defeated the Rockets 49-24 at the Glass Bowl Saturday afternoon.
To make matters worse for Toledo, UT junior quarterback Phillip Ely went down with a knee injury in the third quarter. Ely was helped off the field and taken to the locker room. Toledo head coach Matt Campbell said Ely was still being evaluated and his status for next week should be determined by Monday. Ely finished 17-of-34 for 204 yards and one interception.
Missouri was led by sophomore quarterback Maty Mauk, who completed 21-of-32 passes for 325 yards and five scores to four different receivers.
The Tigers broke open a 7-7 game with three unanswered touchdowns in the first half, then scored on its first possession of the second half to take a commanding 35-7 lead.
Missouri got on the board on its second drive in the first quarter courtesy of a 16-yard scoring strike from Mauk to Russell Hansbrough that completed a four-play, 45-yard drive. The two teams then exchanged punts before Toledo struck back on a 38-yard touchdown run by Hunt. The Tigers answered with a five-play, 75-yard drive that was set up by a 45-yard pass play from Mauk to Darius White. White finished the drive with a seven-yard scoring run.
Toledo missed a great opportunity on Missouri’s next series when senior safety Jordan Haden picked off a Mauk pass and returned it to the Tiger 12-yard line but was stripped by Tiger receiver Bud Sasser. Missouri recovered the fumble, denying Toledo a great opportunity to score.
Another Rocket turnover led to Missouri’s next touchdown. Mizzou cornerback Aarion Penton snagged an Ely pass and returned it 38 yards to the Toledo 25-yard line. On the next play Mauk hit Sasser for a 24-yard play to the Rocket one-yard line. Two plays later Mauk ran around left end to make the score 21-7 with 12:43 to play in the half.
On its next drive Toledo drove the ball to the Missouri five-yard line but came up empty. A penalty and a sack pushed the Rockets back to the 27-yard line. Jeremiah Detmer’s 44-yard field attempt was blocked, his first miss after making 15 in a row and only second in his last 40 attempts.
Missouri made it 28-7 thanks to a short field set up by a 34-yard punt return by Marcus Murphy to the Toledo 39-yard line. The second of two Mauk completions was a 13-yard TD pass to Jimmie Hunt.
Toledo got the ball to start the second half but failed to gain a first down on its first possession. Missouri countered with a 13-play, 85-yard drive to make the score 35-7.
But the Rockets would not quit. Hunt scored his second TD of the game from one yard out, set up by his own run of 45 yards on the previous play. Junior Christian Dukes then picked off Mauk on third-and-long on the Missouri 43-yard line. Four plays later, Hunt scored his third TD from one yard out and cut the Tiger lead to 35-21.
But Missouri struck back quickly, with Mauk hitting Sasser on third-and-seven for a 47-yard gain. Mauk went right back to Sasser for a 25-yard score down the sideline to push Mizzou’s cushion back to three touchdowns.
The news got worse for Toledo on its next possession when Ely went down with an apparent knee injury. The junior signal-caller crumpled to the ground as he set himself to make a pass. He was helped off the field and did not return to the game.
Hunt caught his second TD pass of the game to close out the scoring for Missouri with 7:35 left. Toledo’s final drive resulted in a 40-yard field goal by Detmer.
The Rockets’ next test will be at Cincinnati in a Friday night game vs. the Bearcats at Paul Brown Stadium.