COLUMBIA — The Missouri Tigers and Toledo Rockets have never played each other in football, but when the two teams kick off this Saturday, there will be plenty of familiarities to go around.
Before Tigers head coach Gary Pinkel came to Missouri in 2001, he led the Toledo Rockets to 73 wins from 1991 to 2000, most in the program's history, Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The Tigers' coaching staff is also full of former Toledo assistants and players, including defensive coordinator Dave Steckel.
Dave Hackenberg of the Toledo Blade reports Pinkel hasn't forgotten about Toledo and how it helped shape his coaching career.
Terez A. Paylor of The Kansas City Star also writes about how Pinkel ended up at Toledo in 1991 and then Missouri 10 years later.
Pinkel on leaving for #Mizzou: "I had some people, a lot of people, tell me I was crazy."— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) September 2, 2013
Josey makes a statement
Last week's game against Murray State was Henry Josey's first back in almost two years, but it didn't take long for Josey to look like his old self. Josey rushed 13 times for 113 yards and one touchdown. That touchdown, a 68-yard draw, turned out to be the highlight of the game, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
(Video: Mizzou Network)
After the game, Pinkel gave Josey the game ball — the first time Pinkel has done that in his career, he said.
New look for Missouri backfield
Henry Josey wasn't the only player who made his presence felt in the Tigers' first game.
Russell Hansbrough,a sophomore from Texas, rushed for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Hansbrough originally committed to Arizona State, but after watching Josey against Arizona State in 2011, and following a coaching change for the Sun Devils, Hansbrough changed his commitment to Missouri.
Russell Hansbrough runs past Murray State's Travis Taylor during the first quarter Saturday. (Photo: QUINT SMITH/Missourian)
The Tigers plan to use both Josey and Hansbrough, along with Marcus Murphy, against Toledo.
Tonight was 1st time Mizzou had 2 running backs w/ 100 rushing yds since 1999 vs Western Michigan: DeVaughn Black/Zain Gilmore via @MU4124— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) September 1, 2013
In week 1, Toledo played another Southeastern Conference opponent, Florida, and lost 24-6.
Ryan Autullo of the Toledo Blade reports the Rockets will be looking to find production in their offense against Missouri in week 2. The Rockets were only able to muster 205 total yards, compared with Florida's 415, in the loss. Toledo was also only 1-13 on third down.
Going into this week's game, however, the Tigers' coaching staff knows better than to overlook an opponent like Toledo. The Rockets are led by one of the youngest head coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision, 33-year-old Matt Campbell.
Campbell was Toledo's offensive coordinator before he took over as head coach in 2011. He likes to run an up-tempo offense and helped Toledo become one of the most productive offenses while he was offensive coordinator. In 2011, his last year as the Rockets' offensive coordinator, they ranked eighth in the country in scoring (42.2. points per game) and tenth in the country in total offense (481.3 yards per game).
Toledo coach Matt Campbell & Mizzou safeties coach Alex Grinch were college teammates at Mount Union, won 3 Div III national titles together— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) September 2, 2013
The Tigers will be looking to build off of last week's offensive successes, especially after seeing what Florida did to Toledo last week. However, Toledo's defense will be looking to turn things around after having an "eye-opening day" against the Gators, Autullo reports.
ESPN writers Chris Low and Edward Aschoff both pick Missouri to beat Toledo on Saturday, but as Low writes, "Toledo is not a team to mess around with."
As the video below shows, Missouri capitalized off of big plays against Murray State, something the Tigers look to do against Toledo's young defense this week.
Supervising editor is Frank Russell.