Missouri dominates first half, struggles in second in win over South Dakota
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Brady Cook threw for 172 yards and a touchdown while running for another score in only one half Thursday night, leading Missouri to a pedestrian 35-10 victory over South Dakota in the season opener for both teams.
Cody Schrader ran for 148 yards and a touchdown, and Nathaniel Peat also scored for the Tigers, who are trying to take a step forward after three consecutive bowl bids but failing to finish over .500 in coach Eli Drinkwitz’s first three seasons.
The Coyotes’ Aidan Bouman had 156 yards passing with a fourth-quarter touchdown toss to Mike Mansaray.
The Tigers were inconsistent for new offensive coordinator Kirby Moore, who also called plays after Drinkwitz gave up the job midway through last season. They punted on fourth-and-short on their initial drive, then proceeded to score on four of their next five, capping an efficient 2-minute drill with Cook’s touchdown run for a 28-3 halftime advantage.
Missouri’s offense fizzled in the second half, though, when backup quarterback Sam Horn got his shot. The redshirt freshman and standout baseball player threw for 54 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception.
Cook was efficient in his own right, though. The incumbent starter, who held onto the job after a challenge from Horn during fall camp, completed his first 11 passes with a TD throw to Mekhi Miller that staked Missouri to an early lead.
The Tigers’ ground game got going after that. Peat pounded into the end zone from 1 yard out to make it 14-0, and Schrader added a short TD plunge of his own — his sixth consecutive carry on the drive — to make it 21-3.
It didn’t help the Coyotes that they played most of the game without safety Dennis Shorter, one of their leading tacklers a year ago. He was ejected for targeting on a helmet-to-helmet blow to Luther Burden III after a catch over the middle.
South Dakota’s new-look offense of coordinator Josh Davis showed signs of life in the second half.
The Coyotes had gone three-and-out on their first three possessions, had five yards total offense in the first quarter and mustered one sustained first-half drive that ended in a field goal. But they put together a 17-play drive to begin the second half — it ended with a failed fourth down — and then took advantage of an interception to score a touchdown with 12:14 to go.
South Dakota: There were some building blocks against the toughest competition the Coyotes will face all season. Bouman made a couple of nice second-half throws and the Coyotes’ defense nearly pitched a second-half shutout.
Missouri: It was a tough night for the Tigers on special teams. Their only big return was called back by a penalty and Harrison Mevis, who had been 85% for his career on field-goal attempts, missed both of his tries against the Coyotes.
South Dakota: Plays its home opener Sept. 9 against St. Thomas.
Missouri: Takes on Middle Tennessee on Sept. 9 at Faurot Field.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll
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