"I study film and coach Steck called the right play calls and I was just able to be in the right place and make a play," said Ray.
The first half was a tight match with the Tigers leading the Knights just 14-10 in the schools second ever meeting; the last time the teams met was 2010 in Orlando, FL with Mizzou squeaking out a much closer 21-16 win. However this year, the UCF offense was shutdown after the team's 10 first half points.
"We were playing a really good football team that had been in that arena before and had confidence. I thought we played a really good second half," said Missouri coach Gary Pinkel. "Our defense did a heck of a job to hold those guys to that number of points. A lot of good things came out of that."
The Missouri defense held the UCF rushing attack to 90 yards for a stifling 2.3 carry average and eventually wore the Knights down leading to a late game thrashing. UCF sophomore tailback William Stanback garnered only 33 yards for 2.2 yards per carry. Knights sophomore quarterback Justin Holman progressively became ineffective finishing 22-of-36 passing for 209 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions.
"It was tough. They were a good squad," Holman said. "They came after me, but again, it's my job to get the ball out in time."
On the Mizzou offense, quarterback Maty Mauk tossed for four touchdowns with 144 passing yards and 30 rushing yards on five yards per carry. Mauk did complete just 14-of-24 passes and was occasionally skiddish when his first receiver wasn't open, but he's an exceptional scrambler and also leads well with his throws. The sophomore signal caller will likely continue to develop as the season goes.
"Wait until he gets good. There are a lot of things out there that he can do to improve and he knows that," Pinkel talked post game "He's a great gamey player. He can make plays. He does those things and he's got some good players making plays for him. But he can get considerably better."
For the Tigers receiving core, the tandem of seniors Bud Sasser and Jimmie Hunt are proving to be a lethal duo by finishing with two touchdowns each. In the run attack, the dynamic senior Marcus Murphy nearly topped 100 rush yards with 94 on a 6.3 average; junior Russell Hansbrough tallied 48 rushing yards along with two receptions for 21.
The Missouri defense had significant contributions by many other key players. Senior end Markus Golden finished with five tackles including a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss and Lucas Vincent had two sacks and a couple TFLs. Leading tackler, sophomore middle linebacker Michae Scherer, was all over the field with 10 tackles today, and large 335-pound defensive tackle Josh Augusta made an impact too; the sophomore DT batted down a pass off a guard's helmet and intercepted the ball in one play.
" What a great play. You need a guy that big to make sure he made a play, but what great hands," said Pinkel. "The whole half changed, the whole game changed."
Next up for Missouri (3-0) is a home game against Indiana and the Tigers rush defense will get a serious challenge as the Hoosiers have one of the top running offenses in the nation.