(Saturday, September 5th)
Final Score: Missouri 37, Illinois 9
St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Blaine Gabbert, making his first start, threw for 319 yards and three touchdowns, as the Missouri Tigers handled the Illinois Fighting Illini, 37-9, in both squads opener at the Edward Jones Dome.
Gabbert, who is a sophomore taking over for the departed and successful Chase Daniel, completed 25-of-33 pass attempts and also rushed for 39 yards and a score. Danario Alexander led the Tigers (1-0) with 10 catches for 132 yards, while Jared Perry added four receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown. Wes Kemp chipped in with four catches for 77 yards and a score, as Missouri won its eighth straight season opener.
Juice Williams had an off game for the Illini (0-1), completing 18-of-28 tosses for 179 yards and an interception. Jarred Fayson hauled in four balls for 50 yards, as Illinois fell to 0-6 all-time in neutral-site openers.
The Tigers opened the game's scoring on a 32-yard field goal by Grant Ressel midway through the first quarter. A few minutes later, Gabbert threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Kemp for a 10-0 lead.
Illinois cut its deficit early in the second quarter with a 24-yard field goal by Matt Eller.
Missouri responded with a pair of field goals (44 and 41 yards) by Ressel and it took a 16-3 advantage into the locker room.
The Tigers added to their lead early in third quarter, as Gabbert connected with Jerrell Jackson from four yards away.
Later in the third quarter, Gabbert and Danario hooked up on a 46-yard scoring strike, giving Missouri a commanding 30-3 lead.
Mikel LeShoure plunged one yard for a score early in the fourth quarter to give the Illini some hope, although the extra-point was missed.
Missouri put things away for good midway through the final period, as Gabbert rushed eight yards for a touchdown and a 37-9 victory.
The Tigers have now won 11 straight non-conference bouts, the longest such streak in school history. The team's last non-league loss came to New Mexico in 2005.
09/05 20:08:01 ET