BOULDER, COLORADO (AP) — Danario Alexander caught two touchdown passes while Missouri’s swarming defense had eight sacks and forced four turnovers, helping the Tigers hold off Colorado, 36-17, on Saturday to end a three-game slide.
The Tigers (5-3, 1-3 Big 12) jumped out to a big lead, scoring 33 straight points, and appeared on their way to another rout of Colorado (2-6, 1-3).
Instead, the Tigers had to hold off the Buffaloes’ second-half surge. The defense came up big in the final quarter, ending three Colorado drives on fourth-down stops and another on an interception.
Derrick Washington rushed for 99 yards and a touchdown, while Alexander finished with eight catches for 123 yards.
Blaine Gabbert hardly looked hobbled by a right ankle sprain in the first half, leading the Tigers to a 33-3 lead at halftime. The offense bogged down in the second half, gaining just 94 yards.
Gabbert finished 17 of 29 for 192 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw two interceptions.
The Buffaloes began working their way back into the game by scoring on the opening drive of the second half when Stewart went in from 3 yards out.
Soon after, Colorado safety Benjamin Burney jumped in front of a Gabbert pass with Missouri on the move and raced 78 yards for the score, quickly cutting the Tigers’ lead to 33-17.
That’s when Missouri clamped down on defense, coming up with one clutch stop after another. Defensive end Aldon Smith led the way, finishing with three sacks and a fumble recovery.
The Tigers hounded Tyler Hansen all afternoon, constantly making him scramble to avoid trouble. Hansen finished with 190 yards passing and minus-34 yards rushing. He also fumbled the ball three times and was sacked for a safety.
Missouri scored 21 points in the first quarter as Washington scored from a yard out, while Alexander caught TD passes of 73 and 2 yards.
The Tigers kept the momentum going in the second when Grant Ressel hit a 29-yard field goal, followed by Jarrell Harrison sacking Hansen for a safety 10 seconds later.
Missouri turned to trickery for another score, converting on a fake field goal as holder Forrest Shock flipped the ball to Jacquies Smith, who danced around the end of the line and stepped out of a tackle before scurrying 24 yards for the touchdown.
The rout appeared on, just like the past two meetings where the Tigers won by a combined margin of 113-10.
With their 33-point start, the Tigers had a streak of 139 unanswered points against Colorado spanning the last three games, a streak finally halted by Aric Goodman’s 48-yard field goal just before halftime for the Buffaloes.
It was a forgettable first half for Colorado, who gained just 55 total yards. Hansen also was sacked four times.
The first-half performance led to some disgruntled fans chanting for the firing of Hawkins. Colorado is 15-30 since Hawkins took over the program.