St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Blaine Gabbert threw for 281 yards and two touchdowns to lift the Missouri Tigers over the Illinois Fighting Illini, 23-13, in a non-conference clash at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.
Gabbert connected on 34-of-48 pass attempts for Missouri (1-0), which went 8-5 last season. T.J. Moe hauled in 13 passes for 101 yards and a score, while Michael Egnew had 10 catches that went for 60 yards and a touchdown. The Tigers had just 98 yards rushing yards, however, as they began life without Derrick Washington. The team's top rusher each of the past two seasons, Washington was dismissed from the team after being charged with deviate sexual assault earlier in the week.
Mikel Leshoure ran for 112 yards on 20 carries for the Illini (0-1), which is coming off a 3-9 campaign. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, a redshirt freshman, added 76 yards on 16 carries, but threw for just 81 yards with one touchdown against three interceptions in his first collegiate start.
A 21-yard field goal Derek Dimke gave Illinois the lead with just under five minutes left in the opening quarter. The Drive consisted of 17 plays, spanning 64 yards and over nine minutes.
Grant Ressel then tied the score with a 33-yard field goal in the second quarter.
The Illini, however, struck twice late in the first half to open a 13-3 lead at the intermission. Scheelhaase first tossed a 13-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Jenkins before Dimke hit a 52-yard field goal on the final play.
Midway through the third quarter, Missouri struck with a seven-yard touchdown pass from Gabbert to Moe.
The Tigers moved ahead early in the fourth frame when Gabbert connected with Egnew on a six-yard scoring strike.
Ressel then hit a 27-yard field goal midway through the period and sealed the win on a 34-yarder with 27 seconds remaining.
The Tigers improved to 17-7 all-time versus the Illini, and they have won all six games in the Arch Rivalry series played in St. Louis, including a 37-9 decision in last season's opener.