BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Kony Ealy surprised everyone Saturday night.
With two of the nation's most efficient quarterbacks and two of the nation's top-10 scoring offenses on the same field in Bloomington, Ealy showed the college football world why defense still matters.
The 275-pound defensive end leapt up late in the first half, plucked Nate Sudfeld's throw out of the air and sprinted 49 yards for a score that changed the game and led unbeaten Missouri to a surprisingly easy 45-28 victory at Indiana.
"It changed momentum going into the half," Ealy said. "The crowd got out of the game for a little bit there and that kind of gave some momentum to our offense to get out and just run the ball and try to score on them."
While Tigers fans certainly enjoy seeing touchdowns pile up and all the eye-opening stats, they've also learned to appreciate having one of the nation's most opportunistic defenses.
Ealy's interception extended Missouri's streak of consecutive games with a turnover to 33. It was the second time in two games that a Missouri defensive lineman scored on an interception return, and this time, even the high-scoring Hoosiers couldn't recover.
There was plenty to celebrate other than Ealy's big play for the Tigers.
Missouri (3-0) won in Bloomington for the first time since 1953 and ended an eight-game winless streak against the Hoosiers in the first matchup between these schools since 1992.
Coach Gary Pinkel, who installed this wide-open offense and turnover-hungry defense, won his 93rd game since coming to the school 13 years ago. He is now tied with Dan Devine for the second-most wins in school history, trailing only Don Faurot (101).
And after having a 300-yard passer, two 100-yard runners and a 100-yard rusher for the first time in school history Aug. 31 against Murray State, the Tigers were proficient again against the Hoosiers. This time, James Franklin threw for 343 yards and two touchdowns while running for another score, two receivers topped the 100-yard mark and Russell Hansbrough ran 13 times for 104 yards, closing it out with a late 45-yard TD run.