Mizzou senior quarterback James Franklin made big plays in the air and on his feet to lead Mizzou to a 38-23 victory over Toledo on Saturday.
Mizzou came out firing on their first drive as Franklin completed four of six passes for 55 yards. Senior wide receiver L’Damian Washington hauled in three balls for 51 yards on the drive that ended with a 35-yard field goal by Andrew Baggett.
Mizzou marched 75 yards down the field, highlighted by a 51-yard pass from Franklin to redshirt freshman wide receiver Levi Copelin. Junior running back Henry Josey capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run right up the gut, his third of the season.
After a Mizzou three-and-out and a 29-yard punt return by Bernard Reedy, Mizzou’s defense continued their strong play near the red zone, holding the Toledo offense to 2 yards and forcing another field goal.
Mizzou ended the half strong, driving 75 yards on 10 plays on their next possession, which ended with a 9-yard touchdown reception by Dorial-Green Beckham.
The Mizzou defense came up huge as well in a gamebreaking play, continuing their red-zone dominance when safety Matt White intercepted Owens in the end zone to seal a 17-9 Mizzou halftime lead. This led to huge momentum as Mizzou went into the locker room at half.
In the second half, Mizzou came up with yet another big play near the red zone. Defensive lineman Markus Golden was in hot pursuit of Owens and forced an errant pass that he picked off and ran 70 yards to the house, stretching the MU lead to 24-9.
After a Toledo touchdown, Mizzou led by one, 24-23.
That was as close as they would get though, as Franklin looked like the dual-threat quarterback of 2011 on the Mizzou’s final two drives.
Mizzou’s ensuing drive after the Toledo score was fueled by the senior quarterback’s 27 passing yards and 33 rushing yards, including a 21-yard scamper to the Toledo 1-yard line. Josey finished it off with another 1-yard touchdown run, his second of the day.
After the Mizzou defense clamped down and forced a punt, the offense took over once again to close the door. With 17 more yards on the ground from Franklin, including an 11-yard run on third and nine, Mizzou drove 44 yards and Marcus Murphy helped seal the win when he found the end zone from 8 yards out.
On the day, the Mizzou had 172 yards on the ground, 77 of which came from Franklin on 17 attempts. Murphy was the next leading rusher, gaining 56 yards on eight carries. Sophomore running back Russell Hansbrough ran the ball 10 times for 31 yards, and Mizzou put the ball in Josey’s hands nine times for 26 yards.
In the air, Franklin was an efficient 16-25 for 212 yards. Washington and Green-Beckham continued their hot starts to the season, as they each hauled in five catches for 78 and 51 yards respectively. Senior wide receiver Marcus Lucas also had more than one reception as he corralled three balls for 28 yards.
Mizzou has a bye this week and returns to action on Sept. 21 when they take on the University of Indiana in Bloomington, Ind. The SEC-Big Ten matchup will air on the Big Ten Network at 7:00pm CST.