Postgame Notes - Missouri 37, Illinois 9


Sept. 5, 2009

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Missouri 37, Illinois 9
Sept. 5, 2009

Illinois Postgame Notes

1. Matt Eller made his 16th career field goal with his 24-yarder in the first half. He is a perfect 7-for-7 for his career in field goals under 30 yards.

2. Juice Williams moved up two places on the Illinois all-time rushing list with his 27 yards on the ground today. He now has 2,077 career rushing yards, which ranks 12th in Illinois history.

3. Williams compiled 206 yards of total offense, which puts him second on the Illinois career list in the category, passing Jack Trudeau's 8,640. He now has 8,661 total yards, just 219 shy of Kurt Kittner's school record.

4. First-year starters Ian Thomas and Tavon Wilson both posted career-high tackles today against Missouri with 13 for Thomas and seven for Wilson. Thomas' 13 tackles and seven solo tackles were both game highs.

5. Illinois spread the ball around well today, with eight players recording a rush and 12 different players catching a pass.

6. Williams recorded 28 pass attempts today to improve to fourth on the career list in the Illinois record books. He now has 937 attempts in his career.

7. Troy Pollard had a game-high and career-high 162 all-purpose yards, 120 of which came on his five kick returns. He also recorded the longest return of his career (32 yards).

8. Mikel LeShoure had a career-high 41 receiving yards and tied his career-high with three receptions. He also scored the second rushing touchdown of his career and totaled 38 yards on the ground.

9. Jarred Fayson made his Illinois debut, leading the team with four catches for 50 yards.

Missouri Postgame Notes

Missouri has averaged 11.0 wins over the last two years, which ranks third in America. The Tigers got off to a great start on Saturday with their 37-9 win over Illinois.

Missouri quarterbacks have made some impressive debuts in games against Illinois. Below is a game-by-game breakdown of Missouri's last three QBs in their first game against the Illini. Remember, both Brad Smith and Blaine Gabbert made their first CAREER starts against Illinois, while Chase Daniel made his first start in 2006 against Murray State and didn't face Illinois until this start of his junior campaign in 2007.

Mizzou QB's in their debuts vs. Illinois

2002 - Brad Smith rushed 18 times for 138 yards and a TD. He completed 15-of-26 passes for 152 yards.
2007 - Chase Daniel completed 37-of-54 passes for 359 yards and 3TDs.
2009 - Blaine Gabbert completed 25-of-34, passes for 319 yards and 3TDs.

In case you were wondering, in Daniel's first career start against Murray State in 2006 he hit 23-of-32 passes for 320 yards and 5 TDs.

There is no such thing as opening-drive jitters for Gary Pinkel's last three starting quarterbacks as all three have directed the Tigers to scoring drives in their first drives as a starter. On Saturday, Blaine Gabbert took Missouri 79 yards on 14 plays to help the Tigers grab a quick 3-0 lead in the first quarter. Chase Daniel, MU's last starter, took the team 73 yards in five plays for a TD against Murray State in 2006, while Brad Smith took the Tigers 77 yards in eight plays against this same Illinois squad in 2002.

While Saturday's game is billed as a "rivalry" how about a couple of old high school "rivals" hooking up for the game's first TD. Blaine Gabbert, a product of Parkway West, hit former DeSmet star, Wes Kemp, for a 49 yard scoring strike. It marked Kemp's first career TD.

Kemp wasn't the only Tiger to score his first career TD on Saturday. Sophomore Jerrell Jackson hit the end zone on a four-yard scoring strike from Gabbert to open the second half and Gabbert enjoyed his first career scoring run in the fourth period to ice the contest.

Missouri is 10-1 in its last 11 season openers. Its last lost was actually to next week's opponent, Bowling Green (20-13), in 2001. The Tigers are 75-39-5 all-time in openers.

Kudos to Head Coach Gary Pinkel for earning his 60th win at Mizzou. He actually got No. 50 as a Tiger vs. Illinois in the 2008 opener.

Missouri is on a school record 11 game non-conference win streak dating back to the 2007 season. The last loss in a non-conference game came to Oregon State (39-38) in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas. Mizzou's last non-conference loss in the regular season came to New Mexico (45-35) in 2005 at Faurot Field.

Welcome back Danario! The senior topped career highs for both catches and receiving yards on Saturday, making 10 catches for 132 yards in the win. His previous highs were nine catches against Illinois in 2007 and 117 yards against Kansas in 2007.

Sophomore place kicker Grant Ressel made his first career field goal to open the game's scoring on Saturday, hitting a 32-yarder giving Mizzou an early 3-0 lead. Ressel, a native of Jackson, Mo., was huge early on Saturday, adding a 44-yarder to make it 13-3 and a 41-yarder to make it 16-3.

First time starters for Missouri on Saturday were defensively Terrell Resonno, Andrew Gachkar and Kevin Rutland. On the Tiger offense it was Austin Wuebbeks, Wes Kemp, Dan Hoch and Blaine Gabbert.

Missouri's 10-0 first quarter lead was its largest against Illinois in the fairly recent renewal of this series. In 2002 the Tigers and Illini were tied at 7-7 and the last two seasons MU held 7-6 advantages after one period.

It was a good debut for new defensive coordinator Dave Steckel as the Tigers held Illinois scoreless in the first quarter. The last time MU shut out an opponent in the first period was last season against Iowa State in Ames on Nov. 15. In fact, the three first-half points allowed by Steckel's "D" was the fewest since the Tigers blanked Colorado, 58-0, on Oct. 25, 2008. For the game, Illinois only mustered nine points, which is its lowest scoring output since losing 10-6 at Iowa on Oct. 13, 2007.

Hardy Ricks made his first career interception in the second quarter. He returned it 16 yards. The Tiger have enjoyed five INT's vs. Illinois quarterbacks the last three years.