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Unbeaten Missouri handles Aggies
MU improved to 6-0 with a 30-9 road win against Texas A&M
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Blaine Gabbert moved Missouri's offense with ease and the Tigers' defense left Jerrod Johnson and Texas A&M's high-powered offense stunned.
It was the perfect combination to keep No. 21 Missouri undefeated with a 30-9 win over the struggling Aggies on Saturday.
Gabbert threw for 361 yards and three touchdowns, connecting with Wes Kemp for touchdowns in the first and third quarters to help the Tigers (6-0, 2-0 Big 12) improve to 6-0 for the fifth time in school history.
"I don't know how many superstars we have, but we have a lot of good players, I guarantee you that," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "When we play well as a football team, we're pretty good."
Missouri's defense held quarterback Johnson and Texas A&M's spread offense in check for most of the game, harassing him into a 7 of 21 first half and sacking him seven times overall.
Texas A&M (3-3, 0-2) finally got going in the fourth quarter, with Johnson throwing a 26-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Fuller, but it was much too late to avoid a third straight loss.
It was the fewest points the Aggies scored this season and a performance Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman called shocking.
"It was obvious we didn't play or coach very well today," Sherman said. "We didn't make the plays we needed to make. We never could get into a rhythm offensively."
Gabbert's third touchdown pass was a 20-yard strike to T.J. Moe that made it 30-3 in the third quarter. Moe finished with six receptions for 110 yards.
The Tigers got the ball in the second half after Johnson was sacked three times on Texas A&M's first possession after halftime. Gabbert hit Kemp for his second touchdown on a 10-yard pass that pushed Missouri's lead to 23-0.
Gabbert suffered a hip pointer in the fourth quarter of last week's game and spent the week trying to get healthy.
"I worked hard all week to get my body back to what it should be," he said. "It's mind over matter. When you're focused on a specific goal nothing else matters. We were focused on the 'W,' and we got that."
Texas A&M had first-and-goal from the 10 after that, but the offense stalled again and the Aggies kicked a 24-yard field goal to make it 23-3. The points ended a streak of six straight shutout quarters for Missouri's defense after a 26-0 win over Colorado last week.
It was the first time since 1967 that Missouri had held conference opponents scoreless for six straight quarters.
The Aggies punted on their first six possessions of the game.
Pinkel likes the focus of his team and is impressed by its development.
"We are a lot better football team now than we were three weeks ago, and we're getting better," he said. "Hopefully we continue to do that."
Gabbert found Kemp on a 5-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter.
Kendial Lawrence pushed Missouri's lead to 13-0 when he scored from 2 yards out early in the second quarter. That score was set up by a 24-yard reception by Kemp.