BOULDER, Colo. – Running toe-to-toe with his defender, Missouri wide receiver Jerrell Jackson looked back at quarterback Blaine Gabbert and found what we wanted. He reached in an effort to put his right hand on the football, which was about to zoom several inches behind his head.
He palmed it, tucked it toward his body and fell forward for five yards. The play was posted on YouTube before the game even ended, labeled "Greatest Football Catch Ever."
Sounds of "Oooooh" rang down from the impressed Folsom Field crowd. Though the drive eventually ended in a turnover, the dazzling play was reflective of the day the Tigers had early. Missouri cruised in the first half and held off Colorado after halftime for a 36-17 win, its first in Big 12 Conference play.
"Blaine could have just led me, and made it an easy catch," Jackson said. "I guess it probably slipped out of his hand, went like real far behind me."
Jackson couldn't help but smile. "I had to go in my Jerry Rice box and just stick one hand out there and bring it in," he said. "That was my craziest catch I ever had. I can't wait to watch ESPN and see what happened."
Colorado (2-6, 1-3 Big 12) took control in the second half by outscoring the Tigers 14-0 in the third quarter, but Missouri's 33-3 halftime lead provided the Tigers enough cushion to survive their sloppy play late.
Gabbert was decent early but struggled at times in the second half. Colorado's Benjamin Burney hauled in Gabbert's second interception of the game and returned it for a touchdown, cutting Missouri's lead to 33-17.
Missouri (5-3, 1-3) didn't waste time getting ahead early. Derrick Washington plunged in from a yard out to give the Tigers a touchdown on their opening drive for the first time this year. Later, wideout Danario Alexander broke away from his defender, caught Blaine Gabbert's pass and coasted 73 yards into the end zone, putting Missouri up 14-0.
The Tigers also got a big boost from their defense, which allowed minus-14 rushing yards.
"I think the main thing is that everybody gave each other's word that we was going to practice as hard as we ever practiced this week," defensive end Brian Coulter said.
A fourth-down tackle by Sean Weatherspoon and an interception by Kevin Rutland spoiled chances for Colorado to close the gap in the fourth quarter. Grant Ressel's field goal put Missouri up 36-17 with 3:57 to go.