Columbia, Mo. - University of Missouri sophomore quarterback Blaine Gabbert was named today as the Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Week, for his outstanding performance in last Saturday's 37-9 season-opening win against rival Illinois.
Gabbert, making his collegiate starting debut, completed 25-of-33 passes for 319 yards and three touchdowns on the day, and he also added 39 rushing yards and an eight-yard score in the fourth quarter to give him 358 yards of offense in all. His passer rating of 186.96 was the top mark among any Big 12 Conference quarterback during the opening week of play.
The award marks the third straight time that a first-time starter at quarterback has come away with the Big 12 weekly offensive award for Mizzou. Gabbert's achievement follows in the footsteps of predecessors Brad Smith and Chase Daniel, who both also won the weekly award after their first career starts against Illinois (2002 - W, 33-20) and Murray State (2006 - W, 42-7), respectively. Here's a look at the comparison of those three stellar starting debuts...
9-2-02 Brad Smith Illinois Pass: 15-of-26, 152 yds.; Rush: 18-138, 1 TD
9-4-06 Chase Daniel Murray State Pass: 23-of-32, 320 yds., 5 TDs; Tot. Off.: 347 yds.
9-8-06 Blaine Gabbert Illinois Pass: 25-of-33, 319 yds., 3 TDs; 1 rush TD
Smith eventually won the weekly Big 12 award six times in his stellar career (2002-05), while Daniel equaled that same number during his three years as a starter (2006-08).
The Tigers open their 2009 home season this Saturday evening as they play host to the Bowling Green Falcons. Kickoff for the game is set for 6:07 p.m. at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium, and tickets are available for purchase by calling 1-800-CAT-PAWS (884-PAWS in Columbia) or online at www.mutigers.com.