Missouri and Illinois met in the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis today to kick off their 2009 college football seasons. This is the fourth consecutive season that they opened with the arch rivalry game.
Like the previous three seasons, the Tigers came away with the victory in a 37-9 rout of the Fighting Illini.
Sophomore quarterback Blaine Gabbert made his first career start for Mizzou on Saturday, completing 25 out of 34 for 319 yards. He also threw for 3 touchdown passes and rushed for a fourth.
Washington was held in check, only picking up 61 yards on 14 carries. Gabbert successfully ran for 39 yards on 10 carries, most of which were designed runs for the quarterback.
The game began with Illinois receiving the opening kickoff, however were forced to punt the ball away to Missouri. During that first series, wide receiver Arrelious Benn left the game with an ankle injury and did not return. He only recorded one catch for 9 yards.
After a 12 play, 79 yard drive that ended in a Mizzou field goal, the Tigers followed scored their first touchdown of the season on a 49 yard pass to sophomore Wes Kemp with 3:02 left in the first quarter.
The score was 16-3 at the half, but the Tigers broke out during the third quarter. Gabbert threw two more touchdown passes in the 3rd; a 4 yard score to Jerrell Jackson and a 46 yard screen play to Jared Perry.
The scoring was concluded when Gabbert rushed for his fourth touchdown of the day on an 8 yard quarterback draw. After that, backup Jimmy Costello took over took control for the remainder of the game.
Wide receiver Danario Alexander did not get in on the scoring, however he led all receivers with 10 receptions and 132 yards. Jared Perry finished with 4 receptions for 93 yards and Wes Kemp 4 for 77 yards.
Placekicker Grant Ressel was a perfect 4/4 on PAT's and 3/3 on field goals of 32, 44, and 41 yards.
Juice Williams had the game of his career against Missouri in 2008, throwing for 5 touchdowns, but saturday afternoon was a different story. Juice was held to 179 yards, no touchdowns and an interception with his top receiver sidelined early in the game with an ankle injury.
Missouri is perfect while starting the season against Illinois in the Edward Jones Dome, however the Arch Rivalry game will come to an end after the 2010 season.
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