for this game

Missouri rides defense to rout of Texas Tech

Oct 21, 2007 - 1:01 AM COLUMBIA, Missouri (Ticker) -- Thanks to Missouri's defense, the expected shootout never materialized.

Defensive end Stryker Sulak set an early tone by returning an interception 37 yards for a touchdown Saturday as the 15th-ranked Tigers routed No. 22 Texas Tech, 41-10, in a Big 12 Conference contest.

The game featured two of the top five offenses in the Football Bowl Subdivision, but Missouri's defense dominated throughout. Texas Tech turned the ball over on downs four times in Tigers' territory.

"For our defense to hold a team like that to 10 points, it starts with the coaches and filters down to the players," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "I'm very proud of those guys."

Jimmy Jackson rushed for three touchdowns as Missouri (6-1, 2-1 Big 12 North) rebounded from last week's 41-31 loss at Oklahoma.

Texas Tech (6-2, 2-2 Big 12 South) entered the contest leading the nation in total offense, averaging 582 yards, but the Red Raiders were blanked until midway through the second period.

Missouri's defense scored the game's first points as Sulak returned Graham Harrell's interception for a TD on Texas Tech's initial possession.

"We've probably seen the most pressure we've seen all season (from Missouri)," Harrell said. "They just came out and played more excited than we did in every position."

Harrell completed 44-of-69 passes for 397 yards and a touchdown, but threw three interceptions as the Red Raiders were held 40 points below their season average.

"The defense - they played unbelievable," Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel said. "I don't think words can say how well they played. If they play this well every week, the sky's the limit."

The Tigers overcame a relatively quiet performance by Daniel, who completed only 14-of-19 passes for 209 yards and a touchdown. The junior quarterback came into the weekend averaging 345 yards through the air.

The Tigers still were able to pull away in the second half after nursing a 17-10 lead at the intermission behind a pair of short touchdown runs by Jackson.

Getting more playing time with Tony Temple sidelined due to a knee injury, Jackson rushed for 60 yards on 11 carries.

Jackson scored on a 3-yard run to make it 24-10 with 7:34 left in the third quarter, then added a 1-yard score 56 seconds into the fourth period.

"I love the challenge," Jackson said. "I love being able to contribute to this team."

Daniel's only touchdown pass came on a 57-yard strike to Jeremy Maclin that extended Missouri's cushion to 38-10 with 9:36 left in the contest.

Texas Tech was held to its lowest point total since a 30-6 loss at Colorado on October 14 of last season. The 69 pass attempts by Harrell fell just short of the school record of 70 shared by Kliff Kingsbury (2002) and Sonny Cumbie (2004).

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach second-guessed himself for going all the fourth-down attempts.

"There were some points in the game where I probably should have kicked a field goal and not gone for it on fourth down," Leach said. "We just squandered too many chances."

Harrell's 68-yard TD pass to Edward Britton pulled the Red Raiders within 10-7 with 6:39 left in the first half, but the Tigers answered on Jackson's one-yard TD burst just 94 seconds later.

Texas Tech closed to 17-10 on Alex Trlica's 45-yard field goal with 22 seconds left in the half.

Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree had 10 catches for 76 yards to set an NCAA freshman record of 1,320 yards with four games left in the regular season. He leads the nation in receiving and scoring with 17 touchdowns.