Let’s take the temperature in Columbia, Mo., following Missouri’s 2-0 start.


Markus Golden and Shane Ray timed the snap count of center Greg Mancz and quarterback Phillip Ely. The duo combined for three sacks. Toledo allowed six sacks in 12 games last season. On a few plays, Golden or Ray got two or even three steps into their break before the Rockets offensive tackle got out of his stance.

The pair now has 8.5 tackles for loss in two games. It won’t always be that easy, but Missouri’s defensive ends are asteroid-entering-the-atmosphere hot.


Maty Mauk continues to target Jimmie Hunt most often despite the dropped passes. But Sasser made the most of his five targets, turning them into 121 yards. That includes a 25-yard touchdown on a screen pass. Sasser also turned the game when he stripped Toledo safety Jordan Haden seconds after a Mauk interception, preventing a Rockets possession deep in Missouri territory.


The Tigers haven’t allowed a passing touchdown and have intercepted three passes. The team defended the pass much better against Toledo. But video of the game tells a story: Missouri’s mammoth pass rush did much more to disrupt the Rockets than Missouri’s cornerbacks.

Junior college transfer Kenya Dennis has rotated into the game freely in place of Aarion Penton and John Gibson. Penton is the playmaker, but that illustrates how much the defense misses E.J. Gaines as a lockdown guy.


What once was a strength of the team late last season now has become a serious issue. This week, Golden said something to the effect of “after watching film this week, it wasn’t anything Toledo did. It was our mistakes.” The tone came across reassuring, but he’s right, and in reality, that’s not a good thing.

Toledo’s offensive line blocked well at times, but Missouri’s front seven must learn how to shed blocks. The defensive tackles don’t get enough penetration. The Tigers’ secondary isn’t particularly adapt at helping against the run. Often several players don’t maintain their gaps on the same play. And Missouri has missed too many tackles, especially against cutbacks.