ST. LOUIS (AP) — Luther Burden III put on a show in his first collegiate game in his hometown, catching a career-high 10 passes for a career-best 177 yards to help Missouri beat Memphis 34-27 Saturday night in St. Louis.
“We had some good play calls,” Burden said, unaware he'd set career highs in receptions and receiving yards. “Brady (Cook) was on point tonight. All the work we did on the screen paid off.”
Fellow St. Louis native Cook completed 18 of 25 passes for 341 yards and two touchdowns to spark Missouri to its first 4-0 start since 2013.
“That kid is the toughest kid that I've ever met,” Missouri running back Cody Schrader said about Cook. “I think that he keeps showing it week in and week out and he keeps fighting for the team.”
Seth Henigan completed 31 of 47 passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns but also tossed a pair of interceptions for Memphis (3-1).
“We wanted to win the game, not make it a close game," Henigan said. "We don’t walk away from this beating ourselves up too badly. We have everything we want in front of us.”
Harrison Mevis converted both of his field goal attempts from 25 and 32 yards a week after booting an SEC record 61-yard game-winning field goal to beat then No. 15 Kansas State. He also recovered his own onside kick on the opening kickoff, but the play was negated by a Missouri off-side penalty.
Schrader led Missouri with 123 rushing yards on 14 carries and sealed the game for Missouri with a 37-yard touchdown run with 2:46 remaining.
Tanner Gillis kicked a 22-yard field goal with 5:18 left in the fourth quarter to cut Missouri’s lead to 27-20.
Burden left the game with cramping after hauling in a 56 yard pass from Cook with 9:34 remaining in the third quarter before returning later in the fourth. Missouri pulled ahead 24-10 on its next play when Cook connected with Theo Wease Jr. on a 19-yard touchdown.
Missouri needed just three plays to travel 91 yards on its opening drive culminating in Cook connecting with Marquis Johnson on a 76-yard touchdown pass.
DOME SWEET DOME
Missouri improved to 7-0 at The Dome at America’s Center since playing its first game in the building in 2002. All six of Missouri’s previous matchups came against the University of Illinois. Missouri improved to 9-1 all-time in St. Louis with its only loss coming to Air Force at Busch Stadium II on Sept. 26, 1970.
Memphis: In its only regular season game against a Power 5 school, Memphis used an aggressive approach converting three of four fourth-down attempts.
“Any time you play an away game versus an opponent that will be a top 25 team in the country, you’ve got to be more aggressive.” Memphis coach Ryan Silverfield said. “We didn’t come here to kick field goals and play for close. We came here to win the football game.”
Missouri: Enters conference play undefeated despite not beating a FBS school by more than one touchdown. Missouri had not won four straight games to open a season since 2013 when it opened the season with seven straight wins en route to winning the SEC East Division championship.
“We're going to cleebrate this for 24 hours and transition to conference play,” Drinkwitz said. “We've got to go on the road to open our conference season against a really explosive pass offense which hasn't exactly been our forte. We're going to have to get healthy in a hurry.”
Memphis: Hosts Boise State Saturday.
Missouri: At Vanderbilt Saturday to open SEC play.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll