St. Louis (KMOV) -- Though the Missouri Tigers feature a young offensive line this season, it didn't pose them many obstacles toward lighting up the scoreboard for 52 points on Saturday night at the Edward Jones Dome against Illinois.
The Illinois defense officially sacked quarterback Chase Daniel only one time, and the Tigers ran wild on the ground. They went for 226 rushing yards to just 81 for the Fighting Illini.
After the game, Daniel and coach Gary Pinkel were quick to talk up the Illinois defensive front. Both predicted that it would be one of the toughest the Tigers face all year, which only made each happier with the performance of the young offensive linemen, notably Elvis Fisher.
"Elvis Fisher, red shirt freshman, never played before, he battled," said Pinkel. "He got his share of lessons. That will make him a better player. I was very encouraged that he could battle in there against such good players."
The quarterback was in agreement about his young linemen.
"I thought they played exceptionally well today," said Daniel. "You look at Elvis Fisher in his first start and Tim Barnes in his first start, and they both played well."
So the youngsters protecting a likely Heisman candidate pass their first test. Southeast Missouri State comes next and likely won't be as daunting. But as Daniel noted after the game, the focus must be there regardless.