Missouri running back T.J. Leon pushes Kansas' Nick Reid, aside as he heads towards the endzone for his first touchdown of the day Saturday against Kansas.
Oct 26, 2002
By R.B. FALLSTROM
AP Sports Writer
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Brad Smith ran for 117 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown on a quarterback draw, and backup tailback T.J. Leon added 104 yards rushing and two scores as Missouri beat Kansas 36-12 Saturday.
Missouri (4-4, 1-3 Big 12) blew open a tight game with three third-quarter touchdowns. The Tigers, who had lost three in a row, also tied the series with Kansas 51-51-9.
Bill Whittemore threw two TD passes to lead the Jayhawks (2-7, 0-5).
The Tigers won without leading rusher Zack Abron, who's out with a partially torn knee ligament. Leon, who had 17 carries, scored on runs of 5 and 7 yards.
The win also gives Missouri a 4.5-0 lead over the Jayhawks in the Border War series, an all-sports competition between the two schools. The MU volleyball team also defeated Kansas last Wednesday in Columbia.
Missouri, a 22-point favorite, ran the ball 10 straight times during one successful third-quarter drive, with Tyrone Roberson getting the call five times in a row.
Kansas outgained Missouri 270-158 in the first half, but Johnny Beck missed two field goals - one after a bounced snap - and an extra-point kick. Missouri mounted only two drives in the first half and scored on both of them, with Justin Gage turning a quick slant into a 62-yard touchdown and Leon scoring on a 7-yard run for a 14-6 lead at the break.
Missouri couldn't capitalize on a 52-yard kickoff return by Taurus Ferguson to the
Kansas 35 to start the second half. The drive stalled three plays later, and Mike Matheny
was plenty long, but wide left on a 46-yard field-goal attempt.
The Tigers took control on their next drive, punishing Kansas with an 11-play, 68-yard drive capped by Leon's second touchdown on a 5-yard run for a 20-6 lead.
Kansas answered briefly on Whittemore's 20-yard pass to Byron Gasaway with 5:24 left in the third, but Smith scored on his 75-yarder two plays later. Smith added a 15-yard pass to Darius Outlaw with 1:01 to go in the quarter.
Whittemore also threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Mark Simmons in the second quarter before being replaced by Jonas Weatherbie in the third.
Gage broke the Big 12 record for career receptions with four catches for 77 yards. He has 176 career receptions, two more than the previous record, set by Kwame Cavil of Texas from 1997-99.
Smith was 9-for-16 for 135 yards and moved from fifth to second on the Missouri single-season total yardage list with 2,365 yards. He needs 181 yards in the last four games to break the record of 2,545 yards by Corby Jones in 1997.
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