Connor Bazelak squeezed a full day of production into one half Saturday as he led Missouri to a 59-28 victory over Southeast Missouri.
Bazelak completed 21 of 30 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns for the Tigers (2-1). He spread the ball to 10 receivers and connected on a 46-yard touchdown pass to D’onte Smith and a 52-yard TD pass to Chance Luper.
Missouri running back Tyler Badie entered the game as the national leader in yards from scrimmage with 392. He played sparingly Saturday against an overmatched FCS opponent, but he made the most of his limited chances, rushing nine times for 81 yards and two touchdowns and catching two passes for 14 yards and another score.
Missouri built a 38-0 halftime lead. In the second half, Brady Cook and Tyler Macon played quarterback for the Tigers. On his first career pass attempt, Macon connected with JJ Hester down the middle on a 65-yard touchdown.
Quarterback CJ Ogbonna carried 12 times for 96 yards for SEMO (0-3). Shamenski Rucker scored two rushing touchdowns for the Redhawks.
Southeast Missouri: The Redhawks lost leading receiver Aaron Alston when he was called for targeting in the first quarter. Alston hit Missouri punt returner Smith with the crown of his helmet. The SEMO passing game, which had struggled against FCS opponents the first two weeks of the season, couldn’t afford to lose its best weapon against an FBS opponent.
Missouri: After allowing a combined 604 rushing yards to Central Michigan and Kentucky in the first two games of the season, the Tigers’ defense needed a confidence-builder — if not a hug — against SEMO. Missouri gave up just 56 rushing yards in the first half while the starters were playing. But the reserves struggled mightily, allowing 238 rushing yards in the second half and not even touching Q’Nairies Anderson on a 75-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.
Missouri: The Tigers visit Boston College next Saturday.
Southeast Missouri: The Redhawks open Ohio Valley Conference play at home against Tennessee State next Saturday.