Thursday, May 23, 2024

MSU blows out Mizzou 55-7, earns needed sixth win

December 1, 2001
Senior wide receiver Herb Haygood is tackled by Missouri free safety Clarence Jones after gaining 31 yards from a pass Saturday at Spartan Stadium. The Spartans won over Missouri 55-7.

It took 11 games to do it, but the MSU football finally put a team away early and hung on for a 55-7 win Missouri at Spartan Stadium on Saturday.

The victory, MSU’s biggest point margin in a win since it beat Iowa 49-3 two years ago, made the Spartans (6-5 overall, 3-5 Big Ten) bowl eligible.

James Berry, a representative for the Citrus and Tangerine Bowls, said if Pittsburgh loses to Alabama-Birmingham today, MSU would be one of three or four at-large teams considered for the Dec. 20 Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

That decision would be made Sunday by 3 p.m., Berry said.

MSU could also be picked for the Dec. 31 Sun Bowl, which takes the No. 5 Big Ten team, or could go to a different at-large bowl.

MSU earned its eligibility by scoring 31 points in the first half, the same number it scored in the first half of last week’s loss to Penn State, and racking up 577 total offense yards. MSU only posted six points in the second half in that game.

This week the difference was that MSU held the Tigers (4-7) to seven points in the entire game - it gave up 42 last Saturday.

The Spartans went 62 yards in three plays on its first drive of the second half to take a 38-0 lead. A screen pass to senior tailback Little John Flowers took MSU 42-yards into the end zone.

Missouri center A.J. Ricker snapped the ball early and sophomore defensive tackle Kyle Rasmussen recovered the fumble at the 35-yard line on the next possession.

MSU then took a 45-0 lead on a 4-yard touchdown run by junior tailback T.J. Duckett.

Freshman quarterback Damon Dowdell took over halfway through the third quarter. Smoker completed 14-of-17 throws for 317 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

But MSU really won the game in the first half. Sophomore wide receiver Charles Rogers played a huge role in that half as he racked up 117-yards on five catches and one touchdown. Rogers also tied an MSU record set by Plaxico Burress in 1999 for touchdowns in a season with 12.

On its first drive of the game, MSU drove the ball all the way to Missouri’s 3-yard line and settled for a 21-yard field goal by freshman kicker Dave Rayner.

But on the Spartans next drive, Duckett ran 9-yards to give MSU a 10-0 lead with 6:50 left in the first quarter.

MSU went up 17-0 when Smoker hooked up with Rogers for a 32-yard touchdown pass with 1:52 to play in the first quarter.

In the second half, Duckett’s 1-yard touchdown not only gave MSU a 24-0 lead but tied Duckett with his brother Tico Duckett for sixth place on MSU’s all-time touchdown leaders.

Rogers topped off MSU’s first half offensive explosion at 31 points when scored on a 20-yard double reverse with 3:28 left in the half. Smoker handed the ball to senior wide receiver Herb Haygood who tossed it to Rogers as he was tackled. Rogers ran the 20-yards and hopped into the end zone.

Missouri scored its lone touchdown with only 48 seconds left in the game when quarterback Kirk Farmer ran the ball in from 2-yards out.


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