Much of the crowd at Faurot Field left early in the second half on Saturday as Purdue rolled to a 35-3 win over the Tigers. 

By Spencer Gleason

The Missouri Tigers defense has been in flux all week. Last Sunday, head coach Barry Odom fired defensive coordinatorDeMontie Cross and things did not get better in their week three matchup against the Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday.

The visiting Boilermakers jumped out to an early 7-0 lead on the first drive of the game, going 75 yards on 11 plays. And four-and-a-half minutes later, Purdue’s leading rusher, Tario Fuller, ran 36 yards for another touchdown, setting the tone for another long day in Columbia.

The touchdown run was one-of-five plays where Missouri’s defense allowed the opposition at least 20 yards in the first quarter and Purdue went on to hand the Tigers a 35-3 loss, the worst non-conference loss for Missouri since 2001.

Worse, It was Missouri’s worst loss at home against a non-conference opponent since 1944 when the Tigers lost 51-7 to the now defunct Iowa Pre-Flight Seahawks.

“Frustrated is not the right word,” Missouri head coach Barry Odom said. “We had a really good week of preparation; we had a really good week of practice and then obviously, performed very, very poorly.”

Missouri’s defense allowed the Boilermakers 230 yards in the first quarter alone. The Boilermakers built a 28-3 halftime lead and cruised to the win, finishing the game with 477 total yards of offense.

Things were not any better on the offensive side of the ball, either. Quarterback Drew Lock and the Missouri offense never could connect. They only mustered 17 yards of offense in the first 15 minutes and finished the day with 203 total yards – two less than Purdue’s rushing total alone.

“We came up short on both sides of the ball,’” Odom said. “We didn’t get anything going offensively, obviously. And then defensively, they jumped out 14-0. And we couldn’t get off the field on third downs early on.”

The Boilermakers were 8-for-17 on third down conversions and 2-for-3 on fourth down attempts.

“(It was) not a very good performance,” Odom said.

Lock finished the day going 12-for-28 with 133 yards and two interceptions. After lighting up the stat sheet in week one against Missouri State, Lock has had back-to-back games in which he has completed less than 50 percent of his passes, although some of those miscues can be attributed to drops from his receivers.

The Tigers came close to scoring a touchdown late in the fourth quarter but J’Mon Moore had the ball stripped away in the end zone by Purdue’s Kamal Hardy.

On-field performance aside, Odom said he sees no issue with the leaders on his team.

“Those guys have invested a whole lot into this program and I’m confident that they’re going to keep on leading,” he said.

Missouri will try to turn the page next Saturday when they host Auburn. Depending on TV schedules, kickoff will be at either 6 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.

“I’m going to lean on our staff and we’re going to lean on the leaders of this team,” Odom said. “We’ve got decisions to make.

“What I’ve done since I’ve been the head coach is have very frank and honest and open discussions. Sometimes they’re really hard to do when you do them on faith and fact and honesty. But that’s where we’re at. We need to do a better job.”