Missouri rides fast start to win against New Mexico State

COLUMBIA — Missouri was in control from the first kick.

The Tigers scored on their first possession and stayed at Farout Field en route to a 45-14 win over the New Mexico State Aggies on a chilly Saturday night.

Missouri needed 11 games to rush for 64 yards and eat 5:18 on the opening drive, which ended when Brady Cook connected with Luther Burden on a screen at right. Burden cheered past the first block and then overcame a defender and a blocker at the goal line to reach the end zone for the first time on Saturday. Harrison Mevis scored his first of six-a-side six nights with extra points, with a field goal made to improve his performance to give the Tigers the lead they wouldn’t give up at 6-14 in the first quarter.

“We played one of our cleanest games, one of our best games of the year,” said Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz.

Burden had a catch and a rush to start his day with 47 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns on six touches.

Cook Jump started his 19-of-27 performance with 251 yards and three touchdowns to complement a 7-for-71 tag on the ground to lead the Tiger rushing attack.

“I think he played his two best games two weeks in a row,” Drinkwitz said. “He’s getting better and better and made some great decisions in third place.”

Missouri forced a punt to get the ball back on his own 19 and then used 17 plays to drive 81 yards in 6:33.

The Tigers converted to four thirds downs on the drive, which ended when Cody Schrader celebrated his senior night and ran with a jump from the 1 for his sixth rushing touchdown of the season with 12:02 in the second quarter.

Missouri forced another punt to start the ensuing drive on his own 34 and then maintained offensive efficiency with a 66-yard drive in seven games in 3:39.

This time it was a redshirt freshman in Ryan Hoerstkamp who ended the drive with his first career catch for a 32-yard touchdown.

“First career goal, first career touchdown,” Drinkwitz said. “He’s going to be nagging Brady all week about being a touchdown maker.”

The Missouri defense forced another punt on New Mexico State’s final drive in the first half, allowing the Aggies to enter Tiger territory just once before the break.

The Tigers continued to score after receiving the kick-off early in the second half.

Missouri rushed for 69 yards in nine games to win at 4:13 and finished when Schrader got into the end zone again, this time from the 5 to give the Tigers a 28-0 lead with a 10:42 third-quarter lead .

The Aggies first came on the board at 4:29 in the third when Star Thomas ran the ball in from the 10 and Ethan Albertson scored his first extra point to cut the lead to 28-7.

Missouri responded with a seven play 70-yard drive that ended when Cook connected with Burden on a scoop pass jet sweep for a 14-yard touchdown.

Burden snaked his way up and was untouched on his second touchdown.

The Tigers’ Daylan Carnell ended the Aggies’ next drive with a 40-yard pick-6. Carnell jumped a stop route on the right side and went untouched into the end zone on the home touchline.

“We watched this game in practice all week,” said Carnell.

Missouri was again intercepted, this time by Jalani Williams, to end New Mexico State’s subsequent drive.

Six games later, Mevis hit a 43-yard field goal to increase Missouri’s lead to 45-7, with 2:14 remaining in the third.

The Aggies got short field after a fumble and assembled a five-play 44-yard drive for the game’s final score at 2:18 links.

Missouri’s Barrett Bannister had a career-high 91 yards on seven catches to celebrate Senior Night.

“He was a really altruistic player for us,” said Drinkwitz. “He watches other guys go out and have lots of plays designed for them. He just shows up and makes big catches in third place. He’s doing a lot of things right.”

Sam Horn and Jack Abraham both took snaps in the fourth quarter for the Tigers on the 22-degree night.

Missouri (5-6, 2-5 SEC) will attempt to qualify for the bowl when it wraps up the regular season against Arkansas in Friday’s Battle Line Rivalry game.