Senior QB James Franklin was 26-38-0 (68%) for 318 yards and 3 TDs passing (164.77 passer efficiency rating), and completed passes to 11 different Missouri receivers before exiting with 9:51 left in the 3rd quarter. Missouri's TB tandem of Henry Josey and Russell Hansbrough each exploded for big rushing games. In his first game back from the devastating knee injury he suffered nearly 22 months ago, Josey rushed for 113 yards and 1 TD on 13 carries. Hansbrough carried the football just 8 times for 104 yards and 2 TDs. Dorial Green-Beckham finished with 4 receptions for 83 yards, and L'Damian Washington, Jimmie Hunt, and Darius White each hauled in TD receptions.
"We had a little adversity there in the first quarter," said Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel. "But, I thought we maintained our poise and came out. You know, pretty much the last quarter and-a-half, we just kind of sat on it and tried to get rid of the game. That's good, because I'm not into humiliating anybody. They've got a good football team. Anyway, we got a lot of good work in for a lot of good people."
With 3:58 remaining in the 1st quarter, Murray State QB Maikhail Miller hauled in a throwback pass for wide receiver Jeremy Harness, juked Missouri's Kony Ealy, and raced into the end zone from 5 yards out to put the Racers ahead 14-13. From there, Missouri's defense stiffened, and allowed Murray State just 102 yards of total offense the rest of the way.
"Their quarterback got us with QB draws a little bit," explained Coach Pinkel. "He was doing some things. We had to make some adjustments……………………………………. Once we kind of figured out a little more about (Miller), and all the draws and things he was running, it allowed us to corral him. And, Coach Stec made some adjustments."
After Coach Steckel and his staff made some adjustments to "corral" the Murray State QB, Missouri stifled the racer offense. Missouri won the turnover battle 3-1, as E.J. Gaines came up with a pair of interceptions. Braylon Webb also came up with an interception, and he had another interception which he returned for a touchdown negated by a penalty.
By my count, at least 67 players got into the game for Missouri, and several young players showed well, including Josh Augusta, who had 2 tackles-for loss and a QB sack, and Morgan Steward, who moved the chains while running behind Missouri's second-team offensive line when everyone in the building knew the Tigers were going to run the football. Steward picked up 25 tough yards on 8 carries, and scored his first TD as a Missouri Tiger with a strong second-effort from 1 yard out.
In the locker room after the game, the Tigers gave Josey the game ball.
"I've never given a game ball in 35 years as a head coach," said an emotional Coach Pinkel. "It's a team sport, and I've never called a guy out after a game and handed him the football. But the whole team presented him the game ball for his courage and all the people who worked with him and helped him and certainly his courage for how hard he's worked to come back."