Maty Mauk delivered an electric performance to lead Mizzou to a dominating 31-3 victory over Tennessee at The ZOU on Saturday night.
In addition to his three touchdown passes, the redshirt freshman also led Mizzou in rushing and gained a total of 114 yards on just 13 carries.
Mauk’s first touchdown pass came at the 2:20 mark of the first quarter. Solid running by Henry Josey and Marcus Murphy and timely completions by Mauk drove Mizzou inside the Tennessee 10-yard line. On third and goal from the nine, the quarterback hit Dorial Green-Beckham on a crossing pattern outside of the left hash marks, and the receiver sprinted into the right corner of the end zone untouched to break the scoreless tie.
Mizzou’s next scoring drive was facilitated by more great running, but this time it was Mauk’s legs that did the majority of the damage. On third and four from Mizzou’s own 26, Mauk found a running lane and scrambled 20 yards to keep the drive alive. He did it again on third and two from the Volunteers’ 31, gaining 19 yards on a read option to put Mizzou in the red zone. Andrew Baggett capped off the drive with a 24-yard field goal to make it 10-0.
On Tennessee’s very first play of their next possession, Kony Ealy hit the Tennessee quarterback as he threw, and E.J. Gaines picked him off. One play later, Mauk scrambled to his right and found L’Damian Washington all by himself in the end zone for a 26-yard touchdown.
Mauk and the Tigers were far from done. A 51-yard Tennessee field goal made it 17-3 with 4:13 left in the half, but Mizzou would answer. A 13-yard run by Josey, a 19-yarder by Murphy and a couple completions by Mauk put Mizzou across midfield. That’s when Mauk, on second and eight, hit Marcus Lucas in stride with a perfect 40-yard pass to make it 24-3 Mizzou.
Mizzou tacked on one final touchdown in the third quarter when Russell Hansbrough found a seam up the middle and exploded through it en route to a 26-yard score.
On the day, Mizzou totaled 502 yards of offense, its fifth 500-plus yard performance of the season. 163 of those yards came through the air and 339 were gained on the ground. Mauk’s 114 yards led all rushers, followed by Josey’s 74, Hansbrough’s 61 and Murphy’s 41. Redshirt freshman Morgan Steward even got in on the action and ran for 32 yards on six carries.
On the defensive side, Mizzou had two sacks and held the Volunteers’ to just 94 yards on 24 carries. The front seven put the Tennessee quarterback under constant pressure and forced a fumble and two interceptions, which extended Mizzou’s national best streak of consecutive games with a takeaway to 39. In total, Tennessee was only able to gain 334 yards on Mizzou’s stingy defense.
Mizzou will travel to Lexington, Ky. next weekend to take on the Wildcats of Kentucky. The game will kick-off at 11 a.m. CST and will air on ESPNU.