COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — This week has hardly been fair for Southeastern Louisiana.
Hurricane Isaac dumped more than 16 inches of rain on its campus, and the storm's remnants greeted the football team as it played Missouri on Saturday. The game was no picnic, either.
Southeastern Louisiana turned the ball over four times, with two returned for touchdowns, and gave up two punt returns for scores en route to a 62-10 loss.
"Whoo. That was a tough one," first-year coach Ron Roberts said. "The biggest thing, I think, was we made a lot of crucial, crucial mistakes. I don't care who we're playing, you do those things, (they're) going to put points on the board and you're going to get beat."
It was a rude welcome to the FCS for Roberts, who coached Division II Delta State University to four Gulf South Conference championships and a 47-16 record the past five seasons.
And while the rest of the teams Southeastern Louisiana faces this season may not match up to Missouri, there's still lessons to be learned from playing the Tigers, Roberts said.
"The inconsistencies stick out like a sore thumb," he said. "You can play someone else and not look as bad."
Kendial Lawrence ran for a 76-yard TD and totaled 121 yards on 10 carries with two touchdowns for the Tigers, who led 28-0 after running just 12 plays in their tuneup for next week's SEC debut against No. 6 Georgia. They then stalled for nearly two quarters before turning it back on.
Marcus Murphy, a 5-foot-9, 185-pound sophomore tailback, matched a 47-year-old school record with two scoring returns and totaled 180 yards on five punt returns. He added 32 yards on five carries.
Nathan Stanley threw a late 21-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Smiley for Southeastern Louisiana, which since resuming football in 2003 is just 8-45 on the road, including 13 consecutive losses. The Lions were picked to in the middle of the pack of the FCS Southland Conference under Roberts.
Roberts said his team could have been more emotional this week and not focused as much on Saturday's game due to the hurricane, but that it was no excuse.
"It was a big distraction," Stanley said. "We lost a day of practice. But to me, that's just another excuse. We've got to come out more focused. 62-10 is not acceptable, regardless of how many practices you get. We've got to clean up a lot of things up and get back to work."
Paid attendance of 62,173, the vast majority clad in yellow ponchos, was about 8,000 shy of a sellout. Still, that was an attendance record for Southeastern Louisiana, which plays its home opener against Savannah State next week.
"Some guys may have been nervous," said sophomore defensive back Marice Sutton, who led the Lions with 10 tackles. "But no excuses. It's a game of football. Everybody puts their cleats on the same way."
Heralded freshman Dorian Green-Beckham had a 29-yard sideline catch in the third quarter for Missouri, which has won five in a row dating to last season's strong finish in its Big 12 swan song. The Tigers have won their last 12 openers.
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel left his starters in until late in the third quarter, no doubt displeased after a 207-yard first quarter was followed by 53 yards, two personal fouls and no points in the second. Stanley was 11 for 13 for 99 yards to end the half, and Southeastern Louisiana capitalized on a facemask call against Kony Ealy to snap the shutout on Seth Sebastian's 31-yard field goal to end the half.
The two-TD game was the first for the Missouri defense since 2006 at Texas Tech.
Zaviar Gooden skirted the sideline on a 20-yard interception return on Southeastern Louisiana's second snap to make it 14-0, also giving him a pick in three straight games. Ealy's sack and forced fumble of Stanley set up an easy 7-yard fumble recovery and score for Michael Sam that made it 28-0 with 7:19 to go in the first quarter.
Missouri backup QB Corbin Berkstresser threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jimmie Hunt and ran for a 1-yard score after replacing James Franklin late in the third quarter.
The only other time Missouri had two scoring returns in a game was in 1965, when Johnny Roland returned a punt and Ray Thorpe a kickoff in a 14-14 tie against UCLA.