Missouri makes quick work of Paladins

The Tigers put up 42 points in the first half and didn’t look back.

Sophomore quarterback Blaine Gabbert runs in for a 40-yard touchdown in an option play during the second quarter Saturday at Faurot Field. The Tigers defeated the Paladins with a final score of 52-12.

During the first two Tiger drives, a feeling of déja vu was creeping over Faurot Field.

For the second straight week, sophomore quarterback Blaine Gabbert and the Tiger offense looked shaky.

Incomplete passes added up and the Tiger offense couldn't get a first down.

But though it took the offense until the fourth quarter to come back against Bowling Green last week, the Tigers corrected themselves against Furman quickly — and in a deadly way.

Missouri exploded for 42 points in the first half and all but buried the Paladins on the way to a 52-12 drubbing in front of 61,617 fans at Faurot Field.

When it was over, Missouri improved to 3-0 on the season and 9-0 all-time against Football Championship Subdivision teams.

"Overall, in the first half I think we had pretty good focus," coach Gary Pinkel said. "We made some big plays, got things rolling pretty good."

After the first two failed drives, the Tigers slammed on the gas pedal and scored on its next five possessions.

Missouri first got on the scoreboard with a bit of trickery.

With less than five minutes remaining in the first quarter, Gabbert threw to senior wide receiver Danario Alexander who then found a wide-open senior wide receiver Jared Perry for a 40-yard touchdown pass.

"We've been working on that play for a while now," Gabbert said. "Danario's got a great arm. It was a great throw."

The Tigers and Perry wasted no time getting back in the end zone, scoring a 48-yard touchdown on the first play of their next drive.

The catch gave Perry the first multi-touchdown game of his career.

"He makes plays," Gabbert said. "He's always getting himself open, like all our receivers and running backs."

Perry finished the day with seven catches and 161 yards-both career records.

After finishing the first quarter with a 14-0 advantage, Missouri exploded for 28 points in the second quarter.

Gabbert opened the scoring by charging for a 40-yard touchdown run before he hooked up with Alexander for two touchdown passes later in the quarter.

With his first touchdown catch, Alexander became the first Tiger to throw and catch a touchdown pass in the same game since Chase Coffman accomplished the feat in the 2006 Sun Bowl.

The Missouri defense got into the scoring parade as well. Sophomore defensive end Jacquies Smith intercepted a Furman pass and rumbled 43 yards for the score.

When halftime rolled around, Missouri had a sizable 42-0 lead and a stacked stat sheet.

In the second half, the Tigers added a one-yard touchdown run from junior tailback Derrick Washington and a field goal from redshirt sophomore kicker Grant Ressel.

Gabbert, who finished with 256 yards on 17 of 25 passing, was eventually replaced by sophomore Jimmy Costello late in the game.

Senior linebacker Sean Weatherspoon's six tackles helped him crack Missouri's all-time top-10 list for tackles.

Weatherspoon now sits at No. 9 on the list with 334 career tackles.

Although the Missouri defense kept Furman off the scoreboard until the third quarter, Weatherspoon said there are still things to improve on.

"Overall, we got what we wanted to get out of this game," Weatherspoon said. "We have to get back in the film room and access the mistakes and get ready for the next one."

Missouri's last non-conference opponent will be Nevada, and Pinkel said it's important to get through this portion of the schedule with an unblemished record.

"Our goal is to go undefeated in non-conference games because of the impact of all four of these non-conference have on everything," Pinkel said.

The Tigers are riding a school-record non-conference win streak into the Nevada game.

Since Missouri took down Illinois in the 2007 season opener, the Tigers have won 13 straight games against non-Big 12 foes.

In search of No. 14, the Tigers will face the 0-2 Wolf Pack on Friday night in Reno, Nev.

Nevada opened the season with a loss to Notre Dame and, last weekend, fell to Colorado State.

"They are a better football team than what the records have shown," Pinkel said. "This is a good game for us. This is against a real good team in a tough environment. We're going to find out about ourselves a bit."

A win against the Wolf Pack would give Missouri a fourth-straight perfect regular season non-conference record.

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