Cale Garrett has a penchant for being in the right place at the right time.

So much so, in fact, it seems the Missouri senior linebacker actually lives there.

Garrett made a pair of interceptions Saturday during the Tigers’ 42-10 onslaught of visiting Troy in their nonconference finale at Faurot Field. The first he returned to the Trojans’ 1-yard line. The next, on the following drive, he paraded all the way to the end zone.

After allowing Troy 75 yards on 12 plays in its opening drive of the game, Garrett and Co. limited the Trojans to 40 yards the remainder of the first half while forcing three turnovers.

The Tigers have outscored opponents 164-31 through the first four Saturdays of a five-game homestand at Faurot Field.

More telling yet: Missouri’s defense has outscored its past four opponents 35-31.

Garrett has scored defensive touchdowns in three straight outings, tying Erik McMillan for most defensive scores by an individual in a single season in program history.

"His instinctual feeling of how to go play is off the charts," Missouri head coach Barry Odom said of Garrett. "He's the heart and soul of our team."

Missouri’s five defensive touchdowns this year tie a program record and are tops in the nation.

Garrett read a Kaleb Parker pass to perfection early in the second quarter for his first pick, bobbling the ball, corralling it and returning it 26 yards to the doorstep of the end zone. Tight end Albert Okwuegbunam’s high-wire act for a touchdown reception then did the rest.

On the Trojans’ next possession, fellow linebacker Nick Bolton bolted through the middle to disrupt a Parker throw, which Garrett welcomed right into his bread basket and returned 33 yards to extend the Missouri lead to 35-7 with 6 minutes, 13 seconds until halftime.

The Tigers’ ballhawk now has three interceptions on the year to go along with a fumble recovery in the end zone last week against South Carolina.

"It's special, one of a kind," Bolton said of Garrett's defensive dominance. "It doesn't really happen that often and so it's special being around somebody who loves playing the game, loves his community, this is his university, he's from Kansas City. This is what he lives for."

The Tigers held Troy to 61 yards on the ground Saturday — 35 of which came in the fourth quarter — and 211 yards total, limiting the Sun Belt's Trojans to 5-for-17 production on third downs and forcing four three-and-outs as well as a turnover on downs.

Perhaps no third-down stop was more resounding than Khalil Oliver’s well-time pop of DK Billingsley to break up a pass on third-and-5 the possession before Garrett’s two picks.

Kobie Whiteside posted two sacks on the day, including one on third down.

Jarvis Ware and Cameron Wilkins joined Garrett with five tackles a piece to pace the effort. Wilkins also recovered a fumble in the second half.

The Tigers clamped down on Barker, who despite averaging 342 yards passing per game entering Saturday, managed just 92 yards in the air.

Garrett set the tone, and again the Tigers proved why they’re an elite defense — boasting numbers that stack up well not only within the Southeastern Conference but all of college football.

The Tigers entered Saturday as the No. 3 defense among FBS teams in yards allowed per game. Saturday was 20 below their average.

Now comes the truest test starting next Saturday against Ole Miss: the rest of the SEC slate.

"Playmakers stand up and make plays. I learned a long time ago that I'm a lot better coach with good players," said Odom, whose program is now 18-7 in its past 25 games. "We've got a bunch of 'em, and they've got to keep doing it. We're going to need it more than ever coming up into conference play."