Holy Toledo!

COLUMBIA --- Missouri scored a touchdown with 11:40 left in the third quarter on a very odd play.

At that point, the momentum took a swing ... away from the Tigers.

So it went.

On a confusing day of football, the Tigers were able to solve enough riddles to turn back the Toledo Rockets 38-23 on Saturday at Faurot Field.

"I think it's a great victory; they're a good football team," said Missouri coach Gary Pinkel, in his 13th season at Missouri after spending 10 years at Toledo. "There's a rich tradition there, and I know a little bit about it being there a few years.

"But we're 2-0. Obviously, there are a lot of things that happened in the game."

The weird stuff started happening in the third quarter, when Missouri senior linebacker Andrew Wilson --- the team's leading tackler --- was ejected for "targeting."

You're considered to be targeting an opponent if you lead with the helmet. Wilson did not.

You're also considered to be targeting if you deliver a blow above the shoulders. Wilson did, with his arms --- but only because the Toledo receiver, Bernard Reedy, ducked at the moment of contact.

Unavoidable. Wilson had no chance to do otherwise.

Protect the players, sure, but contact happens. The play could have been reviewed before the ejection, but was not.

"We'll have to look at the film," Pinkel said.

Not only were the Tigers penalized 15 yards, but Wilson was ejected from the game under this new rule, and will also miss the first half of Missouri's next game, Sept. 21 at Indiana.

Four plays later, however, a Missouri touchdown, on the aforementioned odd play. Toledo quarterback Terrance Owens played hot-potato, half fumbled/half passed the ball, which was snagged out of the air like a harmless balloon by Markus Golden.

Golden, a junior lineman, rumbled 70 yards for a touchdown, giving the Tigers a 24-9 lead with11:40 left in the third.

"I was able to get off the line untouched and I was in the right place at the right time," Golden said. "I just caught the ball, then I was out there by myself."

Golden, who plays on special teams, is third-string on the depth chart on the defensive line.

"Whatever coach wants me to do to help the team," he said, "I'll go out there and do it."

When Golden reached the end zone, he put the ball down and pointed to the crowd in celebration. Good for him!

But ...

Flag. Unsportsmanlike conduct. Or, one of the silliest calls in the history of black and white stripes.

Holy Toledo.

"We'll have to look at the film," Pinkel said.

But that call led to a 15-yard penalty on the kickoff, which led to a 59-yard return by Reedy (who obviously wasn't hurt too seriously), which led to the first touchdown of the season for the Rockets (0-2).

"I am just glad we took advantage of that opportunity," Toledo coach Matt Campbell said.

After going 6 1/2 quarters without a touchdown, the Rockets made it two in 5 1/2 minutes when Owens --- who had the first score on a 4-yard run --- tossed a 41-yard strike to Alonzo Russell with 4:22 left in the third.

24-23 in a blink.

But the game's biggest head-scratching moment came with 11:07 left in the fourth and the Tigers driving ... quickly. Hurry up offense, you know.

They were ready to run a play at the Toledo 19, but the play was whistled dead.


"The offense substituted on the play," the head official explained during the dead ball, "and didn't give the defense a chance."


Holy Toledo! What's going on here?

Still, the Tigers scored three plays later on an 8-yard run by Marcus Murphy to end the scoring at 38-23. Some of us, however, waited for an announcement before the touchdown was ruled official.

"The running back ran too hard on the play, and didn't give the defense a chance."

Stupid is as stupid does.

No such announcement was forthcoming, however.

The Tigers (2-0) received a big day from James Franklin, as the senior passed for 212 yards and a touchdown (9 yards to Dorial Green-Beckham).

Franklin also rushed for a team-high 89 yards, including a clutch conversion on 4th-and-3 at the Toledo 37 in the fourth quarter --- just four plays before the Tigers "didn't give the defense a chance."

"He made a lot of plays," Pinkel said. "He's a senior, he should make plays."

Henry Josey rushed for two touchdowns for the Tigers, who led 10-3 after one quarter and 17-9 at the half.

Defensively, the Tigers --- who were actually outgained 387-384 --- had three interceptions for the second straight game (they had seven all of last season), including a clutch end-zone pick by Matt White on the final play of the first half.

It came on a 2nd-and-goal at the MU 3.

"We get a great play and they get no points," Pinkel said, "which was huge."

There were a lot of huge plays in this game, and some of them actually made sense.