If the Barry Odom era of Missouri football hadn’t entered crisis mode before the Tigers’ game against Purdue, it swiftly entered that territory Saturday after the Boilermakers put Missouri through the wringer 35-3.
The loss was the Tigers’ most decisive non-conference loss since Michigan State smashed Missouri 55-7 on Dec. 1, 2001.
In its first game of the season without defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross, the Tigers’ defense looked like a unit desperately in need of additional support.
Purdue scored on five of its first eight drives, including four of six — all touchdowns — in the first half.
The final stat sheet was a massacre in ink. Purdue dominated every statistical category, including yards (477 to 203), first downs (26 to 10), total plays (84 to 52) and, most notably, in time of possession.
In fact, Missouri’s total time of possession of 16 minutes, 17 seconds was within shouting distance of the lowest time of possession in Football Bowl Subdivision history: 14:46, set by Georgia State last year.
One didn’t have to look at the stats to see a total mismatch. The product on the field was evidence enough.
The Boilermakers’ dominance started at the coin flip. Purdue (2-1) won the toss, elected to receive and never looked back.
Purdue frequently manhandled Missouri’s defensive line, opening up expressways between the hashmarks that led to 205 total rushing yards. The Tigers showed flashes of its Week 1 deficiencies in tackling, blowing multiple opportunities to corral Boilermaker ballcarriers in the short time the result was in doubt.
Special teams faltered, again. Richaud Floyd subbed in at punt returner, and in his first attempt of the game, muffed a punt that gave Purdue the ball back near midfield.
Quarterback David Blough, getting his first start of the season, spared no time in dissecting the Tigers. He completed all five passes on Purdue’s opening drive for 51 yards. On the Boilermakers’ only third down of the drive, from the Missouri 5-yard line, Blough rushed left, got Joey Burkett in the air on a pump fake and made it to the pylon for a touchdown.
Missouri responded by going three-and-out.
In hindsight, the backbreaker was Purdue’s second drive of the game. The Boilermakers got in their own way more than Missouri did, committing three penalties, but still drove 87 yards largely unimpeded before Tario Fuller rushed 36 yards untouched to make it 14-0.
That pattern — Purdue driving, Missouri stalling — continued throughout the first half.
The Boilermakers went into the break up 28-3, having outgained the Tigers 370-91. They had almost five times as many first downs, 19-5. They had almost three times as much possession, 21:38 to 8:22.
By the second half kickoff, many of the 53,262 fans who bought tickets to the game had already left.
They departed before Purdue could stretch the lead to 35-3 just 2 minutes, 30 seconds into the third quarter after a Drew Lock interception on Missouri’s first drive of the half.
Missouri’s alumni provided plenty of perspective on the shellacking. Shane Ray, Jeremy Maclin, Lucas Vincent and Kentrell Brothers all voiced opinions about the game on social media — some more positive than others.
“This is painful man,” Vincent tweeted.
At one point, Ray and Vincent used the medium to discuss how former defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski would have evaluated the performance.
Considering the empty bleachers, former tight end Martin Rucker’s comment was poignant.
“Hated seeing the stands empty in my early days at Mizzou,” he wrote on Twitter. “We worked so hard to get them full. I hate seeing them empty again.”