Baylor's second half buries Missouri -

Baylor's second half buries Missouri

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Blaine Gabbert missed the Missouri single-game record for yards passing by only 12 yards. He didn't have a lot to show for his 468 yards, though, especially in the second half of one of the most dispiriting setbacks in nine seasons under coach Gary Pinkel.

The Tigers (5-4, 1-4) were thoroughly outplayed after the break by Baylor (4-5, 1-4), usually an easy touch in the Big 12, in a 40-32 loss Saturday that squashed aspirations of escaping the North cellar to make a third straight conference championship game appearance. They're back in a tie for last place with Kansas with only three regular-season games to go.

Missouri has gotten blown out a few times recently, losing 41-7 to Texas at home last month and getting whipped by the Longhorns and Oklahoma in 2008. Unlike Baylor, those are dominating opponents.

"We'll talk about it as a staff, talk about how to get out of it," coach Gary Pinkel said. "But we're certainly running out of time."

Missouri hasn't found enough playmakers to replace its departing stars. Gabbert shows a lot of promise as a sophomore now that he's shaken off a sprained right ankle that hampered him for three games. Danario Alexander is the unquestioned go-to wide receiver after setting career bests against Baylor, redshirt freshman Aldon Smith is only two sacks off the school record, and Grant Ressel has been one of the nation's most accurate kickers.

Otherwise, the Tigers are still waiting for a young squad to develop.

Pinkel has emphasized finishing strong in practice, simulated second-half situations and done his best to motivate. But after a big first half, Missouri was stymied. More importantly, it failed throughout to control a Baylor offense that had been averaging only 8.5 points in conference play and allowed a school-record 427 yards passing by Baylor freshman Nick Florence.

Gabbert piled up 322 yards passing in the first half and Missouri seemed to take control on Wes Kemp's 7-yard scoring catch with one second to go for a 27-16 lead.

But the Tigers totaled only 35 yards in their first five possessions of the second half, going three plays and out three times, while Baylor was seizing control with 17 points. Missouri's biggest play during that stretch was a punt by Jake Harry that was downed at the 1, resulting on a safety the next play.

Missouri mounted its best drive of the second half at the finish before running out of downs at the Baylor 18. Gabbert fell just short of Jeff Handy's school-record 480 yards passing against Oklahoma State in 1992.

The Tigers' running attack was woeful, with De'Vion Moore, Kendial Lawrence and Derrick Washington combining for 43 yards on 15 carries. Factor in four sacks on Gabbert, and the net was 10 yards.

"We did a pretty good job stopping them after they had a pretty hot first half," Baylor coach Art Briles said. "We got our momentum going and momentum makes plays."

The Tigers have lost three straight at home for the first time since 2004 and have been outscored 51-5 in the second half of two of those losses, getting outscored 24-5 on Saturday and also squandering a 12-0 lead after three quarters in a 27-12 loss to Nebraska.

The victory was momentous for Baylor, which had been 0-7 against Missouri in Big 12 play and hadn't won at Columbia, Mo., since 1973. The Bears pulled it off with a quarterback who was third on the depth chart at the start of the season.

"Our guys have never lost hope and they never lost focus and that says a lot about their character," Briles said. "After so many losses, it feels good to finally let them celebrate."

Both schools had two players with 100-yard receiving games, Missouri with Alexander (13 for 214 yards and a TD) and Jared Perry (7 for 145) and Baylor with Kendall Wright (10 for 149, 2 TDs) and David Gettis (8 for 110). A third Baylor player, Lanear Sampson, just missed with five catches for 85 yards and a TD.

"Nobody respects us," Florence said. "It wasn't about gaining respect. We knew we were a good team, and we just wanted to get the 'W."'

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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