September 16, 2006

Defense carries Tigers to a win

ALBUQUERQUE, NM--Early in the week, New Mexico starting quarterback Chris Nelson talked about the pressure associated with taking over the starting job. On Saturday night, Nelson found out what pressure was.

The Missouri Tigers sacked Nelson on two of the first three offensive plays for the Lobos. In all, Missouri totaled eight sacks of Nelson on the way to a 27-17 win.

"I think we work on pass rush more than anybody in the nation," said Xzavie Jackson, who collected two of the eight sacks. "That's what our coach preaches to us."

The star of the day was Brian Smith, already the Missouri school record-holder in sacks. Smith celebrated his birthday with a school-record tying four takedowns of Nelson, pushing his season total to six and his career total to 30.

"It was just unbelievable," Pinkel said of Smith's effort.

"I just wanted to get the win," Smith said. "A couple of sacks to top it off, it don't get no better than that."

"It's fun," added Jackson. "We're just going out here having fun and it's paying off for us."

Paying off in the form of the first 3-and-0 start at Missouri in three seasons. Up next is Ohio University at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

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