With a 1:08 left in the fourth quarter, Smith ran for a 61-yard touchdown for the game's final score on a run designed to run out the clock. The run put him at 291 yards, a school and team record for rushing yards by a quarterback and only 17 yards short of the NCAA record. More important, Smith led the Tigers to bowl eligibility for the first time since 1998.
"How about our football team?" Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "How about our coaches? I am very proud of them. They work so hard and are so committed to the program. This game was huge, I told my players that this week. This keeps us in the North Division hunt, makes us bowl eligible, gives us a chance to get back in the top 25 and makes a statement about our program."
Yeah, Pinkel about summed it up.
Never has giving up giving up 531 yards. Tech quarterback B.J. Symons, who entered the game leading the NCAA in eight major categories, threw for 408 yards, but he also threw a career-high three interceptions, which the Tigers turned into 17 points. Linebacker Brandon Barnes had two interceptions and forced a fumble that Missouri recovered.
"We thought it was important to mix man, zone and pressure," Gary Pinkel said. "He still did pretty well. I know that is about 100 yards below what he averages, but he did complete some passes. We also got some turnovers, which I thought was critically important."
Missouri showed right away it was taking an aggressive approach to dealing with the kind of points it knew Tech would score. For the first time in his tenure, Pinkel won the toss and elected to take the ball first.
"We took the ball first because we wanted to make a statement to our offense and our football team that we were going to attack," Pinkel said.
Missouri only scored three points on its first drive, but it scored touchdowns on its next three drives to go ahead 27-3 with 12 minutes left in the second quarter. After Tech came back and scored six minutes later, Smith and running back Zack Abron marched the Tigers right back down the field.
With three minutes left, Smith threw a touchdown pass to Sean Coffey that the officials took back because of offensive pass interference on Coffey. With third-and-22 at the 27-yard line, Smith ran left and tiptoed the sideline all of the way to the end zone, to give Missouri a 34-10 lead, its lead at the half.
"That run he made along the sideline, I just looked at the coaches next to me and shook my head," Pinkel said. "He is an amazing athlete and only a sophomore. He is going to get a lot better. He is a gift."
Smith had five rushing touchdowns on the day, another school record. Zack Abron ran for three touchdowns and tied Corby Jones for the school record with 38 in his career.
"We knew it was key for us to sustain and keep their QB off the field," Abron said. "The defense did a great job. They had quite a few turnovers for us and put us in good field position to go out and score."