Outlaw grabs Smith toss for final margin

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Darius Outlaw caught a 6-yard touchdown pass
from Brad Smith with 4:12 remaining to give Missouri a 22-15
victory over Illinois in the season opener Saturday.

Missouri got another big game from Smith. He went 12-for-18 for
101 yards and two touchdowns and added 66 yards rushing on 17
carries. In the opener against Illinois last year, Smith had 290
yards total offense in his first career start as a redshirt

Ibrahim Halsey had 139 yards on 20 carries, a school record for
a season opener for Illinois. Jon Beutjer was 31-for-45 for 281
yards and a touchdown.

Illinois outgained Missouri 422-224, but missed a chance to tie
it late, running out of downs at the Missouri 23 when Beutjer's
pass went in and out of Melvin Bryant's arms at the 5.

The Illini also lost to Missouri 33-20 last year in the
neutral-site opener. Both teams were 5-7 last year.

Missouri struggled on offense most of the day. But the Tigers
saved their best for late in the game with a 13-play, 79-yard
game-winning drive. Smith added a 2-point conversion run from an
unusual swinging gate alignment, winning a foot race to the right
corner of the end zone.

Smith took the snap from the 8 on the play after a false start.

Smith was 3-for-4 for 40 yards on the winning drive. Outlaw
caught two of the passes for 21 yards and Zack Abron caught a
19-yard swing pass and had a 17-yard run.

Missouri, which is 6-1 in its last seven openers, responded
after Illinois took its first lead of the game on a 6-yard pass
from Beutjer to Kelvin Hayden with 10:36 to go.

Missouri led 14-6 at the half despite getting outgained 167-103
in total yards.

The big play of the half came when Michael Harden nearly blocked
a punt deep in Illinois territory, forcing Steve Weatherford to
run. Derrick Ming tackled Weatherford at the 3 to set up Abron's
1-yard run for a 7-3 lead.

Smith hit J.D. McCoy for a 14-yard touchdown to make it 14-3,
capping Missouri's only sustained drive of the half.

Illinois settled for field goals of 44 and 48 yards by John
Gockman in the first half, and Gockman added a 31-yarder in the
third quarter.


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