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BOWLING GREEN Brad Smith stars in loss



Published: Sun, September 15, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Despite passing for 334 yards, Brad Smith from Chaney was not able to engineer a Missouri win against Bowling Green..

By JAYME RAMSON

SPECIAL TO THE VINDICATOR

BOWLING GREEN -- Missouri quarterback Brad Smith's 334-yard passing performance was not enough for a Tigers' victory Saturday against Bowling Green at Doyt Perry Stadium, where the Falcons won 51-28.

Smith, a redshirt freshman and graduate of Chaney High, contributed 348 yards of total offense. He completed 28 of 50 passes for two touchdowns and 334 yards with one interception, his first of the season.

In Missouri's first two games Smith had not committed a turnover and had not been sacked, and the Tigers had not committed a penalty.

Hindered by penalties

Missouri's offense was hindered by costly penalties throughout the game, and one of them called back a touchdown in the third quarter that would have pulled the Tigers within six points of the lead.

Both teams scored on their first possession of the game, and Bowling Green punted only once.

The Falcons took a 17-7 first quarter lead, and were ahead 34-14 at halftime and 44-21 after the third quarter.

Smith and the Tigers had to work from behind for the entire game, and were not able to shrink the deficit.

"We can score as an offense; we just didn't do it. We'll bounce back," said Smith. "It is hard [playing from behind] when you're down 20 or 30 points and you have to score every time you touch the ball."

Missouri's rushing game never got a chance to get started, and coach Gary Pinkel admitted that early on in the game the Tigers were forced to throw the ball downfield on every possession. Last week against Ball State, the Tigers scored 27 points in the third quarter.

Missouri's consistently productive rushing game was never a factor in the game, and the momentum shifted in Bowling Green's favor after the Falcons scored on their first two possessions.

Lack of execution

"We just weren't executing. We're going to take responsibility for that and learn from it," said Smith. "Their defense played hard. They came in and got some hits and broke up some passes. We gotta run the ball and we just gotta work."

Missouri wide receiver Justin Gage broke a Doyt Perry Stadium record and school record for receptions with 16, to eclipse BGSU's Mark Dowdell's old mark of 13. He tied his own Missouri single-game record with 236 receiving yards.

Early in the third quarter, Smith pulled Missouri within 13 points on a 19-yard touchdown pass to Gage. On the next possession, Bowling Green answered with Magner's second touchdown pass, a 30-yard toss to Robert Redd.

Missouri7777--28

Bowling Green1717107--51

First Quarter

BG--Harris 34 pass from Magner (Suisham kick), 13:22

MU--Abron 2 run (Matheny kick), 10:36

BG--FG Suisham 34, 6:19

BG--Alls 29 run (Suisham kick), 3:26

Second Quarter

BG--FG Suisham 41, 14:21

BG--Harris 3 run (Suisham kick), 10:16

MU--Abron 6 pass from Smith (Matheny kick), 5:51

BG--Harris 2 run (Suisham kick), 3:42

Third Quarter

MU--Gage 19 pass from Smith (Matheny kick), 12:45

BG--Redd 30 pass from Magner (Suisham kick) 8:12

BG--FG Suisham 26, 3:10

Fourth Quarter

BG--Hewitt 27 interception return (Suisham kick), 10:16

MU--Abron 2 run (Matheny kick), 5:16

A--21,969.




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