COLUMBIA — Missouri coach Gary Pinkel thought he saw it last week. Wide receiver Jared Perry caught just one touchdown pass last week against Bowling Green. Pinkel thought he saw Perry catch a second one, but sophomore Wes Kemp was the actual receiver.
That meant Perry, a senior, was still waiting for his first multi-touchdown game at Missouri.
Pinkel only had to wait a week to actually see Perry accomplish the feat. Perry caught Missouri’s first two touchdowns in the team’s 52-12 win over Furman Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Perry’s touchdowns were just two of the six first-half touchdowns Missouri used to establish the rout, taking a 42-0 lead into halftime and prompting much of the announced crowd of 61,617 fans to leave before the end of the game.
But Perry’s first touchdown, the first points of the game, didn’t come from the expected passer.
It was Missouri’s first significant trick play of the season. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert threw a lateral to wide receiver Danario Alexander on the right side of the field. Alexander found a wide-open Perry near the goal line, who was easily able to get in for the score. It was a 40-yard touchdown pass for Alexander, the first of his career.
Alexander found out the trick play was in the team’s repertoire two weeks ago. It wasn’t until Thursday that he found out it would be run in the Furman game.
“I’ve been wanting to throw a touchdown pass my whole college career,” Alexander said.
Alexander and Pinkel both described the pass as not having as much power as Alexander is capable of. He held off to make sure Perry caught the ball rather than try to catch him on the run.
“I told him, ‘If you see me wide open like that, there’s no need for me to try to run and go get it,’” Perry said. “’Just throw it where I can catch it and go in the end zone.’”
Gabbert completed a 48-yard touchdown pass to Perry later in the first quarter, giving Perry his first multi-touchdown game early.
Perry had three more catches for 59 yards in the second quarter. He finished with seven catches for 161 yards and two touchdowns.
He wasn’t needed much after the first half. He didn’t catch a pass in the second half and spent much of it on the sidelines as younger receivers got a chance.
“I wanted to keep going on my stats,” he said. “But I respect what the coach is doing.”
He had already done what Pinkel thought he had accomplished the previous week. Pinkel was under the impression Perry caught two touchdowns last week until he got home after the Bowling Green game.
“I thought Jared caught both of them,” Pinkel said in his Monday news conference. “I was standing out there on the 50, I don’t look at replays, I’m moving on. I thought J.P. caught the ball.”
Scoring two touchdowns wasn’t Perry’s only "first" of the day. It was also the first time he had 100 yards receiving in a college game.
“I’ve been waiting on that all my life,” Perry said.