Playing an SEC school, big underdog Idaho scored the first touchdown Saturday.
That was pretty much the end of the Vandals’ fun.
In a team meeting Monday, Missouri coach Barry Odom had set ablaze scouting reports, game plans and other remnants of a disappointing first half of the season. The Tigers responded by starting the second half of the season with a torching of Idaho’s secondary.
Missouri ended a five-game losing streak with a 68-21 victory at Faurot Field.
“I think the display in the team meeting room Monday was perfect,” quarterback Drew Lock said. “I think we’re all buying into the whole second season. Starting off 1-0 is what we needed. I think we can keep building on that. We’ve got a lot of winnable games coming up, and we just need to believe in it.”
Lock completed 23 of 33 passes for 467 yards and six touchdowns. He fell one touchdown pass short of the school record he set in the season opener. J’Mon Moore caught 11 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown.
The game began ominously for the Tigers (2-5). Armond Hawkins intercepted Lock on the first play, and the Vandals (2-5) scored on a 7-yard pass from Matt Linehan to Kaden Elliss, a linebacker who moonlights on offense.
“There was a very pointed discussion between our offensive coordinator and him,” Odom said, referring to Josh Heupel and Lock. “It would not be G-rated.”
Missouri responded with five first-quarter touchdowns, including three TD passes from Lock to tight end Albert Okwuegbunam. By halftime, the Tigers led 51-14 and had accumulated 465 yards.
Idaho entered the game ranked sixth nationally in pass defense, but it hadn’t played a Power 5 conference opponent. The Tigers rely on run-pass option plays, and Lock chose the pass option frequently. The Vandals gave Missouri receivers big cushions – seemingly conceding short passes to prevent big plays – but Lock still connected on a 45-yard pass to Emanuel Hall and a 50-yarder to Johnathan Johnson in the first quarter. Idaho was repeatedly gashed down the middle of the field by Missouri’s tight ends, including Kendall Blanton’s 62-yard reception.
“They just played way better than we did,” Idaho coach Paul Petrino said. “Offensively, they got after us. Defensively, they won one-on-one matchups. You’ve just got to give them credit.”
Missouri was missing leading rusher Damarea Crockett, who injured his shoulder last week against Georgia and is expected to be out “for a while,” Odom said. In his place, freshman Larry Rountree rushed 12 times for 97 yards, including a 53-yard rush in which he plowed over Idaho defensive back Dorian Clark.
“I was just hitting the first person I saw in front of me,” Rountree said. “I’m not trying to be soft. I’m not afraid of contact.”
Ellis was one of the bright spots for Vandals. In addition to his touchdown catch, he had three tackles for loss, including a sack.
Matt Linehan was 19-of-32 passing for 139 yards and two touchdowns for Idaho. Aaron Duckworth ran 13 times for 74 yards.