Final Score: Missouri 40, Illinois 34 St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Chase Daniel threw for 359 yards and three touchdowns in leading the Missouri Tigers to an exciting 40-34 victory over the Illinois Fighting Illini in non-conference action from the Edward Jones Dome. Daniel connected on 37-of-54 passing for the Tigers (1-0) to make up for the fact that the rushing attack accounted for a mere 70 yards on 33 attempts on the day. The Illini (0-1) was paced by running back Rashard Mendenhall who posted a pair of scoring runs on 11 carries in the setback. Backup quarterback Eddie McGee, who came in for Isiah Williams who exited in the second period with an apparent head injury, completed 17-of-31 for 257 yards and a score, but was sacked twice and intercepted two times. Illinois scored the first points of the game in the first quarter when Vontae Davis returned a blocked punt two yards for a touchdown at the 8:38 mark. However, the PAT was blocked, leaving the Illini with a 6-0 advantage. The Tigers then ran off 23 unanswered points to close out the first half, beginning with a one-yard TD toss from Daniel to CHase Coffman. Late in the second period Cornelius Brown made the first of his big plays on the day when he returned a fumble 100 yards for a touchdown. Add to that a two-yard TD pass from Daniel to William Franklin and a 27-yard field goal by Jeff Wolfert at the end of the frame and Missouri had a 23-6 edge at the break. In the third Mendenhall scored the first of his rushing scores on a 25-yard scamper for Illinois, but the Tigers responded with two touchdowns by Jeremy Maclin. The first of Maclins scores was a 25-yard TD catch from Daniel and then less than four minutes later his 66-yard punt return for a score pushed the Missouri advantage to 37-13. Illinois made things interesting by scoring three straight touchdowns, the first coming on a 16-yard run by McGee. The signal-caller then hit Kyle Hudson with a 41-yard TD pass at the 2:47 mark of the third, making the score 34-27. Barely a minute into the fourth Mendenhall closed the gap to three points on a four-yard touchdown run, but a 32-yard field goal by Wolfert with 8:32 to play ended up sealing the six-point decision. The Illini had one last gasp late in the contest, but with 51 seconds to play the team was stopped when Brown intercepted a McGee pass at the one-yard line. Illinois rolled up 435 yards of offense on the afternoon, but the team converted just 5-of-14 on third down and turned the ball over five times. Benton High School Graduate T. Rucker led the Tigers in Receiving with 10 catches for 86 yards.