Maty Mauk is looking to build on another big game for unbeaten Missouri, which is expected to have its top two rushers available for Saturday’s meeting with visiting Indiana.
Slowing down Hoosiers running back Tevin Coleman could prove crucial as the No. 18 Tigers try to open 4-0 in back-to-back seasons.
The Tigers have outscored opponents by an average of 24.3 points after easily getting by Central Florida 38-10 last Saturday. Mauk threw for 144 yards and four more touchdowns, giving him nine in the last two games and an SEC-best 12 on the year.
"Wait until he gets good," coach Gary Pinkel said. "There are a lot of things out there that he can do to improve and he knows that. He’s a great, gamey player, but he can get considerably better."
Marcus Murphy rushed for 94 yards on 15 carries and Russell Hansbrough ran for 48 on nine attempts. While Murphy didn’t play the final five minutes due a mild ankle injury and Hansbrough left on the first play in the fourth quarter after feeling dizzy, they should be good to go against the Hoosiers (1-1).
The duo has combined for 462 rushing yards, with each averaging 5.5 per carry. Missouri has outgained foes 570-361 on the ground.
Missouri ran all over Indiana in a 45-28 win last Sept. 21 in Bloomington as Hansbrough and Murphy combined for 171 yards and two scores. The Tigers totaled 623 yards with 280 coming on the ground.
The Tigers held Coleman to 54 yards on 15 carries in that game, but they’re expecting a much more difficult challenge Saturday.
"They are a very potent offensive football team and have one of the best running backs in the country. He’s a great player," Pinkel said of Coleman. "They’re a good football team. We played them a year ago … and we’re excited about the opportunity. We want to keep improving as a football team. I believe we’re better now than we were two weeks ago. Our schedule gets tougher and tougher and it’s important we get it done."
Coleman is averaging 218.5 rushing yards this season, by far the most in the country. He gashed Bowling Green for 190 yards and three touchdowns in last Saturday’s heartbreaking 45-42 loss, Indiana’s seventh straight road defeat dating to 2012.
Nate Sudfeld completed 31 of 41 passes for 347 yards and a touchdown, adding two more scores on the ground. While the second of those rushing TDs put the Hoosiers up with 2:04 to go, Indiana went on to allow the game-winning touchdown with nine seconds left.
The Hoosiers had 11 penalties for 143 yards compared to Bowling Green’s four for 42.
"Our effort was solid. I think physically we can still be a lot cleaner just in blocking and tackling and continue to grow there. But more importantly, just our mental, our mindset, our mental prep, our mental errors need to decrease as we move forward," coach Kevin Wilson said. "We’ll need to clean it up on the road."
Doing so could prove difficult at Missouri, which has won six straight and 40 of its last 43 home games against unranked programs.
"They’re solid in all three phases. Their offense really good running game, two good running backs, quarterback, very athletic and active moving around. … And we’re going down to their place," Wilson said. "I expect our guys to bounce back and have great attitudes, great work, and it’s going to be a great challenge and a great opportunity."
Sudfeld was picked off three times against Missouri last year in the only multi-interception game of his career.
The Tigers lead the SEC with 12 sacks and are tied for second with five interceptions. Indiana has allowed 27.5 points per game for the third-worst mark in the Big Ten.
The Hoosiers have been outscored by an average of 31.9 points during a 13-game road losing streak against ranked teams. They’ve dropped 18 in a row overall when facing Top 25 foes.