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Tigers upstage Raiders' potent offense 62-31
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Brad Smith outplayed the nation's leading quarterback.
Smith ran for 291 yards, only 17 shy of the NCAA record for a quarterback, and a school-record five touchdowns as the Tigers left Texas Tech's top-ranked offense in the dust in a 62-31 victory Saturday.
The last three touchdowns came in the fourth quarter as Missouri pulled away after its lead had twice been whittled to 10 points.
"He's still Superman, that's all I can say," offensive tackle Rob Droege said.
Pregame attention was focused on B.J. Symons of Texas Tech, who led Division I in eight statistical categories and was averaging 500.9 yards passing. Symons got his numbers, going 40-for-62 for 408 yards and four touchdowns, but he also threw a season-worst three interceptions.
"The whole game we were on eggshells because they're a great offense," Smith said. "They score so quick. Every time they dropped back to pass, it was a big play that could have come."
Smith's rushing total is the second highest in school history, trailing only Devin West (319 in 1998) and he needed only 19 carries to do it. He fell just short of the NCAA record for yards rushing by a quarterback, 308 by Stacey Robinson of Northern Illinois in 1990.
"All I have to do is just follow my guys and get up there and run," Smith said. "So, I didn't do too much."
Smith was elusive on both designed runs and scrambles, scoring on runs of 10, 27, 2, 41 and 61 yards to help Missouri (6-2, 2-2 Big 12) become bowl eligible for the first time since 1998. He added 128 yards passing, going 13-for-24.
"He's a special athlete," coach Gary Pinkel said. "He made a lot of plays throwing, too."
Zack Abron added 139 yards on 25 carries and scored the Tigers' other three touchdowns on runs of 3, 4 and 2 yards, shaking off a sprained left ankle near halftime. He has 38 career touchdowns, tying the school career record set by Corby Jones from 1995-98, and has scored 228 points to tie another Jones record.
Texas Tech (5-3, 2-2) entered the game leading the nation with a 47-point average, but couldn't recover from three turnovers in the first half that led to 17 points as Missouri took a 34-10 lead. Symons was intercepted on consecutive passes in the half, mistakes that led to 10 points.
Two of Symons' touchdown passes went to Carlos Francis. Two of his interceptions were picked off by Brandon Barnes.
A furious Texas Tech coach Mike Leach made a short statement after the game and refused to make players available.
"We lost this game because I'm not a good enough coach to get our defensive players to believe in themselves," Leach said. "We lost this game because I'm not a good enough coach to get our offensive players to play in control when the other team scores a couple of points."