ST. LOUIS (AP) - Blaine Gabbert threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns and ran for a fourth in a stellar starting debut to lead rebuilding Missouri to a 37-9 victory over Illinois on Saturday, its fifth win in a row in the neutral-site series.
Juice Williams was held in check and failed to convert a crucial fourth-down play for Illinois, which just missed cracking the preseason Top 25 but flopped despite an offense with eight returning starters. The Fighting Illini were 5-7 last year but had been a touchdown favorite against a program replacing 23 seniors, including quarterback Chase Daniel and a pair of NFL first-round draft picks.
Missouri won its eighth straight opener without most of the key skill players from an offense that helped produce 22 victories the past two seasons.
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