Tigers shocking Illinois in 'Arch Rivalry'

September, 5, 2009
9/05/09
5:35
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin


Biggest surprise of the day so far for the Big 12 has been the strong early play of Missouri, which is bouncing favored Illinois all over the Edward Jones Dome with a quick 16-3 lead early in the third quarter.

In the process, the Tigers appear to be living up to the prophecy of preseason All-American linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who promised to "squeeze the Juice" -- Illinois quarterback Juice Williams.

New Missouri kicker Grant Ressel has picked up where Jeff Wolfert left off with three field goals to lead the Tigers.

But the play of sophomore quarterback Blaine Gabbert has been the biggest revelation as he has riddled Illinois for 191 yards in the first half. The Tigers have taken advantage of deeper passes than they typically used with Chase Daniel.

Dave Steckel's defense has done a masterful job of keeping Illinois' talented pass-catch tandem of Williams and Arrelious Benn. Williams was limited to 79 yards in the first half. Benn accounted for one catch for 9 yards.

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