Sep 17, 2022; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers running back Cody Schrader (20) runs the ball against Abilene Christian Wildcats defensive lineman Jordan Paup (45) and defensive lineman David Oke (98) during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Brady Cook propels Missouri past Abilene Christian

Brady Cook completed 21 of 30 passes for 294 yards and three touchdowns as Missouri posted a 34-17 win over visiting Abilene Christian on Saturday in Columbia, Mo.

Dominic Lovett caught seven passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns for the Tigers (2-1). Luther Burden III had a 78-yard touchdown punt return and 177 all-purpose yards.

Maverick McIvor completed 19 of 32 passes for 203 yards with a touchdown and interception for the Wildcats (2-1). Jermiah Dobbins added 69 rushing.

Missouri outgained Abilene Christian 487-308, but the Tigers were slowed by nine penalties for 85 yards and two missed field goals by Harrison Mevis.

After Missouri forced Abilene Christian’s offense into a three-and-out sequence to open the game, Burden returned the ensuing punt 78 yards for a touchdown.

Moving from their own 1-yard line, the Wildcats went 77 yards to set up Blair Zepeda’s 38-yard field goal.

Cook’s 79-yard touchdown pass to Lovett over the top of the secondary pushed Missouri’s lead to 14-3.

The Tigers made it 17-3 with Mevis’ 32-yard field goal with 3:21 left in the first half. Cook’s 25-yard completion to Cody Schrader was the key play on the scoring drive.

Missouri followed up Ennis Rakestraw Jr.’s interception with Cook’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Nathaniel Peat for a 24-3 lead.

The Wildcats scored a defensive touchdown to cut their deficit to 24-10. David Oke sacked Cook and forced a fumble, with Alexander Duke recovering the ball in the end zone.

The Tigers responded with an eight-play, 85-yard touchdown drive to build a 31-10 lead. Cook got Missouri rolling with a 29-yard run and he finished the sequence with a 13-yard scoring pass to Lovett.

Mevis’ 52-yard field goal with 3:11 left made it 34-10. The Wildcats countered with McIvor’s 49-yard touchdown pass to Blayne Taylor that finished off a five-play, 75-yard drive.

–Field Level Media

Missouri quarterback Brady Cook (12) runs away from a Kansas State defender during a game against Kansas State at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas, on Sept. 10, 2022.

Missouri sticking with QB Brady Cook against Abilene Christian

Missouri hopes to get its offense back on track when it hosts Abilene Christian Saturday.

The Tigers (1-1) suffered a 40-12 loss at Kansas State in Week 2. They mustered 222 offensive yards and 14 first downs against their former Big 12 rival.

“We obviously weren’t clean in running the ball or in protecting the quarterback and then just didn’t make plays,” Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said. “There were some plays early that I thought we missed that could have changed the tide, but we didn’t get it done.”

Now they face the Wildcats (2-0) of the Western Athletic Conference at Faurot Field. Abilene Christian overcame a 13-7 first-half deficit to defeat Prairie View A&M, 21-13, in its previous game.

“We’ve got an inexperienced young defense,” said first-year Wildcats coach Keith Patterson, who was previously defensive coordinator at Texas Tech. “We just have to get these guys to come out of the gate a little earlier. But I like the way that when stuff has happened the last two weeks, we’ve gone down in both games and our defense just keeps getting better and as the game goes.”

Missouri quarterback Brady Cook completed 15-of 27 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns against Kansas State. He also rushed for 56 yards on 13 carries.

Backup quarterback Jack Abraham relieved Cook for two series and went 0-for-3 with two interceptions.

“Brady’s our quarterback,” Drinkwitz said. “I was just trying to light a spark or get something else going. But Brady’s our quarterback.”

Missouri rushed for 235 yards and piled up 558 total yards while beating Louisiana Tech 52-24 at home in its season opener.

But at Kansas State, running backs Nathaniel Peat, Cody Schrader and Elijah Young combined to gain 32 yards on 21 carries for the Tigers. Freshman receiver Luther Burden III, one of the highest-ranked recruits in school history, produced nine yards on one catch and one carry.

“One game doesn’t define the season. How we respond will,” Drinkwitz said. “There’s going to be a lot of negative thoughts and opinions out there about it. But this team’s got to stay together. Everything we’re trying to accomplish is still out in front of us.”

Abilene Christian has opened the season with two victories over Division I foes for the first time in school history. The Wildcats defeated Lamar 28-14 at home in their season opener.

Wildcats quarterback Maverick McIvor, a transfer from Texas Tech, has completed 42 of 72 passes for 483 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions in two games. Receiver Kendall Catalon has 11 catches for 162 yards and a touchdown.

Defensive lineman Tyrin Bradley recorded 10 tackles against Prairie View and earned WAC Defensive Player of the Week honors.

— Field Level Media

Nov 21, 2020; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; Virginia Cavaliers quarterback Brennan Armstrong (5) passes the bad as Abilene Christian Wildcats defensive tackle Dre Jones (98) defends in the first quarter at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia wins third straight, pounds Abilene Christian

Brennan Armstrong passed for a career-high 383 yards and four touchdowns, including a 90-yarder to Lavel Davis Jr., and Virginia rolled to a 55-15 non-conference win over Abilene Christian on Saturday in Charlottesville, Va.

The Cavaliers (4-4) won their third straight game to get back to .500, outgaining the Wildcats (1-5) of the Football Championship Subdivision by a 518-340 margin.

Abilene Christian made a surprise move by starting freshman quarterback Stone Earle, who had only thrown two passes all season. He completed 19 of 31 passes for 150 yards and one touchdown.

Entering as 39.5-point favorites against the Texas school from the Southland Conference, Virginia sputtered to just 27 total yards on its first two drives before finding its rhythm.

The Cavaliers scored touchdowns on each of their next six possessions, including four TD passes by Armstrong and a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs by Shane Simpson.

Virginia ended the first quarter with touchdown receptions on back-to-back offensive snaps, a 30-yard grab by Tony Poljan and a 90-yard catch-and-run by the true freshman Davis.

ACU got on the board with a 14-play, 75-yard drive, pulling within 21-7 on Earle’s 2-yard pass to Kobe Clark 30 seconds before halftime.

But 30 seconds was all UVA needed. The Cavs went 64 yards in six plays and took a 28-7 halftime lead on Simpson’s second score of the quarter.

More big plays and quick strikes followed for Virginia to start the third quarter. Keytaon Thompson caught a short pass from Armstrong, spun through traffic and raced 56 yards to the house. On his next (and final) snap, Armstrong hooked up with Ra’Shaun Henry for a 52-yard score and a 42-7 lead.

In the fourth, backup QB Lindell Stone made it 49-7 with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Demick Starling.

Peyton Mansell scored on a 2-yard run for Abilene Christian with 1:26 left, and the Wildcats tacked on a late safety before Virginia’s D’Sean Perry scored on an 84-yard interception return on the game’s final play.

Virginia lost star linebacker Charles Snowden to a serious injury to his lower right leg early in the first quarter. He came into the game on a tear, registering 21 tackles, nine tackles for loss and six sacks in his previous three games.

It was the final game of the season for the Wildcats. The Cavaliers return to Atlantic Coast Conference action next Saturday at Florida State.

–Field Level Media

Nov 14, 2020; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; Virginia Cavaliers quarterback Brennan Armstrong (5) celebrates after scoring a touchdown as Louisville Cardinals linebacker Dorian Etheridge (17) and Cardinals defensive back Russ Yeast (3) look on in the fourth quarter at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia focuses on itself as Abilene Christian visits

Coach Bronco Mendenhall said his Virginia Cavaliers are preparing for Saturday’s game against FCS opponent Abilene Christian the same way they would prepare for No. 1 Alabama.

“The focus is on us,” he told reporters Monday. “That’s just the core philosophy that I have kind of extracted from John Wooden. Have the focus entirely be on us. The context is the next game. … There’s very little attention that we put on the next opponent. The focus is only on us.”

The contest in Charlottesville, Va., is the first meeting between the host Cavaliers (3-4) and Abilene Christian (1-4), a member of the Southland Conference.

The Wildcats from Abilene, Texas, are Virginia’s “plus one” on a schedule that includes 10 ACC games plus one nonconference contest. It will be their first game ever inside the state of Virginia.

Virginia has won two in a row, following up a 44-41 win against then-No. 15 North Carolina on Oct. 31 with a 31-17 win at home Saturday against Louisville.

Brennan Armstrong passed for 203 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 60 yards and two scores in the victory over Louisville, his third game this season with at least 200 passing yards, 40 rushing yards, while accounting for at least three touchdowns.

The UVA defense gave up 478 yards, including 317 on the ground (197 by Cardinals QB Malik Cunningham), but the Cavaliers also forced three turnovers and had four sacks.

“We call them havoc plays,” Mendenhall said of his team’s nine sacks and five takeaways in the past two games. “We’ve learned more about the identity of this particular team, this particular defense. We’re learning to manage specific players in this very unique year. … And it’s starting to show results — and at a good time with this stretch run coming down.”

Abilene Christian hasn’t played since a 34-21 loss to Angelo State on Nov. 7. Its game last weekend against Arizona Christian was canceled due to COVID-19 issues within the opponent’s program.

Peyton Mansell has completed 61.7 percent of his passes for 1,109 yards with five touchdowns and three picks for the Wildcats. Lionell McConnell has a team-high 31 catches for 299 yards and Jermiah Dobbins has rushed for 221 yards and five scores. Fourth-year head coach Adam Dorrel’s ACU defense is allowing 31.6 points and 402.4 yards per game.

Dorrel talked about the chance to test his program against a Power 5 school earlier this season.

“I think it’s going to be exciting for our student-athletes and our donors,” Dorrel told the Abilene Reporter News. “Obviously, (Virginia) had a really good last year in the ACC. So, it’s a huge challenge for us. … But our guys are just excited to play.”

Virginia suffered a few injuries against Louisville, with wide receiver Tavares Kelly Jr., tight end Tony Poljan and offensive lineman Dillon Reinkensmeyer all exiting the game. Multi-threat quarterback Keytaon Thompson was held out for what Mendenhall called a “private matter,” but is expected to play this week. Starting safeties Joey Blount and Brenton Nelson have not played since the Oct. 17 loss at Wake Forest.

–Field Level Media