BOULDER, Colo. — For an ailing Missouri offense, the best medicine turned out to be a dose of Colorado defense, at least for the first half.
The Tigers (5-3, 1-3 Big 12) made a big first half hold up as Colorado (2-6, 1-3 Big 12) made a run for it in the third quarter. The commanding 30-point Missouri lead proved too much, as the Tigers won 36-17 in front of 45,634 at Folsom Field.
Although Missouri took home a victory, its offense was limited to three points in the second half. In four Big 12 games, the Tigers have only scored six points total after halftime.
The victory snaps Missouri’s three-game losing streak and pushes its winning streak over Colorado to four games.
“We obviously played a real good first half,” coach Gary Pinkel said. “In the third quarter (Colorado) did a great job and got back in it and we found a way to win in the fourth quarter.”
In its first three Big 12 games, Missouri mustered a total of 36 points. It took one half against a porous Buffalo defense to nearly equal that total.
Missouri scored 33 points and racked up 306 yards of total offense.
“The first quarter we started off really fast,” sophomore quarterback Blaine Gabbert said. “Really the first half we were clicking on all cylinders.”
Gabbert put up 165 yards passing and two touchdowns in the half but threw for only 27 yards after that.
In total Missouri put up 96 yards of total offense over the third and fourth quarters.
“We really slowed up in the second half and that cannot happen,” Gabbert said.
Senior wide receiver Danario Alexander had eight catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns on the afternoon.
His 73-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter gave Missouri a 14-0 lead.
“I got an opportunity to make a play and I took advantage of it,” Alexander said. “I just had to break a tackle and I got there.”
After Missouri shut out the Buffaloes in the first quarter, it marked the eighth straight quarter the Tigers held Colorado scoreless, a streak dating back to 2007.
By the time Colorado put up a field goal with 1:07 left in the second quarter, the Tigers had put up 127 points in those shutout quarters.
Trailing 33-3 going into halftime, Colorado kept the pressure on the Missouri defense by putting up 14 points in the third quarter.
Missouri stopped the bleeding and kept the Buffaloes off the scoreboard the rest of the game.
“I think our defense played really outstanding almost the entire game,” Pinkel said. “Turnovers. Big plays.”
Missouri’s defense had no trouble getting to Colorado sophomore quarterback Tyler Hansen. The sophomore was sacked a total of eight times on the day, including a sack in the end zone for a safety in the second quarter.
The -73 yards resulting from those sacks kept Colorado’s net rushing to -14 yards.
“Not just one person was out there making plays,” redshirt freshman defensive end Aldon Smith said. “Our corners made plays. Our safeties made plays. Linebackers made plays. D-linemen made plays. The whole team made plays.”