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Missouri football uses balanced attack to cruise to their fifth win

The Tigers dominated all facets of their game with New Mexico State to move one step closer to bowl eligibility.

NCAA Football: New Mexico State at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri completed their non-conference schedule when they hosted New Mexico State on Saturday. The Aggies came into this game as one of the weaker programs in the FBS, while Mizzou had to get this win to stay on track to make a bowl game.

In frigid, sub-freezing temperatures, the Tigers played one of their more complete games of the season, taking down New Mexico State 45-14.

The defense suffocated the Aggies all night, only allowing 259 yards and compiling seven tackles for loss.

Brady Cook and Cody Schrader balanced the team with 141 combined rushing yards and five total touchdowns between the pair. The offense appeared to find a solid rhythm throughout this game, as Cook also threw for 251 yards and three touchdowns.

“I’d say you know, things are just starting to click,” Cook said. “The offense is starting to click and some of those plays are starting to hit. So, we’ve played pretty, pretty consistently offensively.”

Luther Burden got the scoring going with a 12-yard touchdown off of a screen pass with 6:14 left in the first quarter. In typical Burden fashion he made it a spectacular play, hurdling multiple players to cross the plane.

Outside of that, it was The Cody Schrader Show in the first half. He led the team with 47 receiving yards and tacked on another 47 rushing yards in the opening half. Drinkwitz got him the ball in a variety of ways, and he made the most of his opportunities.

“He’s Mr. Consistent, which is is why he’s such a good player,” Mizzou head coach Eliah Drinkwitz said.

Cook balanced him with 54 yards on the ground and two touchdowns through the air. He certainly appeared to be comfortable in this game, using his legs when needed but also effectively finding his playmakers downfield.

“We were really aggressive early on trying to throw the ball down the field to try to get a lead,” Drinkwitz said. “I thought he did a great job taking this check downs and then obviously did a good job with his feet running, whether it was on read or quarterback draw.”

Ryan Hoerstkamp finished off the first-half scoring with a 32-yard reception with 4:28 left in the second quarter, his first touchdown as a Tiger.

The defense didn’t force any first half turnovers or record any sacks; they just played solid overall defense. They forced Aggie quarterback Diego Pavia to complete just four out of his fourteen pass attempts, and despite NMSU making it into Tiger territory twice, they did not get a single point.

“This game was really important for the defense with such a big game coming up,” Daylan Carnell said. “It was a real big game. We wanted to get back on track to get that bad taste from last week out of our mouth. “

The second half began with Barrett Banister taking over. He caught three passes for 37 yards on the opening drive of the half, and Schrader capped it off with a 7-yard touchdown run. Banister finished with a team-leading 91 yards on his Senior Day.

The Aggies broke the shutout halfway through the third quarter, but Cook responded. He led a 7-play, 70-yard touchdown drive with his legs and arm. Freshman running back Tavorus Jones even got in on the action, as he collected a 32-yard pass up the seam.

Burden capped off the drive with a 14-yard touchdown ‘reception’ off a backfield pitch, continuing his stellar night.

Carnell sealed the game on New Mexico State’s next drive with a 40-yard pick six, making the score 42-7 with 12:41 left in the game.

Sam Horn made his long-awaited debut at quarterback late in this game, and Jack Abraham also took over late in the game. Neither led a scoring drive, but Horn had a great completion to Banister taken away due to a penalty.

The Aggies tacked on a touchdown late, but Mizzou still went home with the victory.

Kris Abrams-Draine stood out yet again on defense. He recorded two pass breakups and a team-leading six tackles. DJ Coleman also added in two tackles for loss.

The Battle Line Rivalry (presented by Shelter Insurance) is next week. Arkansas comes to Columbia on Black Friday, with the Tigers needing a victory to clinch bowl eligibility. Catch that game at 2:30 CST on CBS.