Missouri 28, North Texas 7
ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Brock Olivo ran for 129 yards and Missouri totaled 347 yards on the ground _ its best rushing day in seven seasons _ in a 28-7 season-opening vikctory over North Texas Saturday night.
The Tigers’ new grass field and lighter schedule appeared to agree with Olivo, a sophomore who had 112 yards in the first half and finished with his third career 100-yard game. Ernest Blackwell had 92 yards on five carries, including a 60-yard touchdown run, and freshman Devin West had 88 yards on 11 carries and a score.
It was Missouri’s best rushing day since a 367-yard effort in a 52-21 victory over Kansas Oct. 8, 1988. The Tigers’ best day last year was 209 yards against Houston.
North Texas had seven turnovers, six of them interceptions, to help Missouri end a seven-game home losing streak. The Tigers won at Faurot Field for the first time since a 37-34 victory over Iowa State Oct. 30, 1993.
In an attempt to end 11 consecutive losing seasons, Missouri lightened its pre-Big Eight load with North Texas, Bowling Green and Northeast Louisiana. The Tigers also ripped up their slippery Omniturf field after 10 seasons, replacing it with Kentucky bluegrass.
The field appeared a little worn in spots due to dry weather and a handful of students scurried about the field replacing divots throughout the game. But the footing appeared solid.
North Texas is returning to Division I-A this season after 13 seasons in Division I-AA. Quarterback Jason Mills was intercepted four times, twice by Clayton Baker, as the Eagles fell to 1-16 against Big Eight teams.
North Texas plays two more Big Eight schools, Kansas and Oklahoma, this month.
The score could have been more lopsided. Missouri recovered from two big blows in the first half _ a 98-yard opening kickoff return by Kenyatta Williams that was called back and an Olivo fumble at the North Texas 1 _ to take a 14-0 lead.
Corso threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Jake Stueve, a redshirt freshman, with 2:22 left in the first quarter. West set up the second touchdown with three carries for 45 yards, then scored from the 1 with 1:34 left in the half.
Missouri sputtered most of the second half. Blackwell’s 60-yard touchdown run on Missouri’s first play of the third quarter was three-fourths of the total output until a drive late in the game capped by West’s 4-yard run with 4:11 to go.
Baker fumbled a bouncing punt at the Missouri 17 to set up North Texas’ only score. Two plays later, Bo Harrison caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Mills with 4:54 left in the third quarter.