2:00 PM ET, November 12, 2005
Faurot Field, COLUMBIA, MO
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri's once-commanding 24-point lead had been whittled to eight when coach Gary Pinkel took a risk and put the game in Brad Smith's hands.
Maybe it wasn't such a big gamble after all.
Smith's 56-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-1 late in the game was the decisive score that helped the Tigers beat Baylor 31-16 Saturday and become bowl eligible for the second time in three seasons.
"They went beyond making me look good," Pinkel said. "I just wanted a first down."
Smith gave Missouri a lot more with two more touchdown runs, including another 56-yarder, and 161 yards on 21 carries. All he wanted on the key play with 6:04 to go was a first down, too.
"I just wanted to stretch the line out and then try to cut it up and try to get the 1 yard," Smith said. "They did such a great job of blocking, I just kept running."
Marcus King had an interception return for another score, and Tony Temple ran for 100 yards in his first career start for the Tigers (6-4, 4-3 Big 12), who succeeded in their third attempt to qualify for a bowl.
Missouri missed out last year with a 5-6 record.
"You want to go to bowls every year, that's the way it is," Pinkel said. "If you do that consistently, then your program will become a football program respected around the country."
Smith was bottled up in a pair of losses at Kansas and Colorado, in which Missouri was outscored by a combined score of 54-15, before breaking loose on a senior day that began with Pinkel hugging each of the departing players before they ran out on the field.
"It was so important for me to be hugging those guys in the locker room after the game," Pinkel said. "I was not doing real well when we did the introductions."
Smith, who set school career records for points and rushing touchdowns to give him 19 marks in all, became the first player in NCAA history to pass for 8,000 yards and rush for 4,000. Last week Colorado held him to only 16 yards on 13 carries, but he didn't allow that game to fester.
"Magic, man," Missouri linebacker Derrick Ming said. "He just surprises everybody at all times. You move your head for one second, and you'll miss out on something."
Baylor (4-6, 1-6) rallied in the second half behind backup quarterback Shawn Bell, who threw a pair of touchdown passes and led the Bears to their first scores in three games following shutout losses against Texas and Texas Tech. Bell's 16-yard pass to Carl Sims with 8:06 left cut the gap to eight, and he drove the Bears to the Missouri 4-yard line in the final seconds.
Bell has been the starter most of the season but the last two games has been behind sophomore Terrance Parks.
"I know what I can do, and I think I proved it somewhat today," Bell said. "To be honest, I've been proving it all season."
Coach Guy Morriss said Bell probably will get his job back next week against Oklahoma State.
"Well, I guess my gut would say start Shawn," Morriss said. "We'll look at the tapes and see what the trouble was. It upsets me that we can't get anything going earlier than we did."
Baylor's only first-half highlight was Daniel Sepulveda's career-best 78-yard punt. It's the 13th punt of 60 or more yards for the left-footed junior, the Ray Guy award winner last year.
Smith scored on runs of 2 and 56 yards in the second quarter to help Missouri build a 21-0 lead. He has 260 career points, breaking the school mark of 252 set by running back Zack Abron (2000-03).
King intercepted an underthrown sideline pass by Parks and returned it untouched 32 yards for the game's first score in the first quarter. Missouri has four defensive touchdowns this season, all coming in the last five weeks.
Missouri is 6-0 against Baylor since the inception of the Big 12.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||7-20||7-18|
|4th Down Conversions||0-2||2-2|
|TD||4:52||MARCUS KING 32 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (ADAM CROSSETT KICK)||0||7|
|TD||14:25||BRAD SMITH 2 YD RUN (ADAM CROSSETT KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 60 yards.
|TD||6:29||BRAD SMITH 56 YD RUN (ADAM CROSSETT KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 80 yards.
|FG||6:09||ADAM CROSSETT 49 YD FG|
Drive info: 6 plays, 30 yards.
|TD||0:55||DOMINIQUE ZEIGLER 6 YD PASS FROM SHAWN BELL (BLOCKED XP)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 73 yards.
|FG||12:01||RYAN HAVENS 32 YD FG|
Drive info: 10 plays, 49 yards.
|TD||8:06||CARL SIMS 16 YD PASS FROM SHAWN BELL (RYAN HAVENS KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 52 yards.
|TD||6:04||BRAD SMITH 56 YD RUN (ADAM CROSSETT KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 80 yards.