COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) _ Two dazzling plays from one of the underclassmen helped save Senior Day for No. 7 Missouri.
Redshirt freshman Jeremy Maclin caught two touchdown passes, one to pull the Tigers out of late trouble and the other on the school's longest reception in 31 years, in a 40-26 victory over Texas A&M on Saturday.
Coach Gary Pinkel jokingly claimed credit. He said Maclin, who missed last year with a knee injury, has been his personal project this season.
``I select every year who I coach,'' Pinkel said. ``Last year I coached Chase Daniel and this year I'm coaching J-Mac. He wasn't very good when he got here, either.''
Daniel threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns for Missouri (9-1, 5-1 Big 12), which reached nine victories for the first time since 1969 and only the fourth time in school history. The Tigers scored nine points in the final 3:44 on Maclin's 12-yard grab and a safety when Lorenzo Williams sacked Stephen McGee in the end zone to avert a second-half collapse.
``I don't think you ever want games like this or need games like this, but it was good to have it,'' Daniel said. ``I'd rather be blowing people out by 60 if we possibly can.''
Missouri set a single-season scoring record of 411 points, 12 more than the 2003 team in a 13-game season, with at least three games to go.
They also finished 5-0 at Faurot Field and clinched their first winning record in conference play under Pinkel, in his seventh season.
But Texas A&M (6-5, 3-4), which has lost three straight to top-10 opponents and is a team in turmoil amid reports coach Dennis Franchione's contract will be bought out after the year, made Missouri work on Senior Day.
``Our guys kept fighting, and I wish we could have converted a couple of times,'' McGee said. ``We just didn't do that. You've got to hand it to them, they played a really good game.''
Maclin's 82-yard sprint on a routine sideline pass near the end of the half put Missouri ahead 24-9, but the Aggies twice cut the deficit to five and missed a chance to narrow it to 2 when Matt Szymanski was wide right on a 36-yard field goal attempt early in the fourth quarter.
Missouri responded with an 80-yard drive capped by Jimmy Jackson's 6-yard run and Texas A&M again shaved the deficit to five when Martellus Bennett broke several tackles on a 42-yard catch, his second touchdown of the game.
Maclin twisted, strained and then stretched the ball into the end zone on his 12-yard grab up the middle with 3:44 left that put Missouri ahead 38-26 and finally out of danger. He bruised his left shoulder on the play and did not return, but Pinkel said the injury was not serious.
``The guys battled hard, we got it to the fourth quarter, we had a chance,'' Franchione said. ``We just couldn't get back in position to get a score and get ahead.''
Jorvorski Lane tied the Texas A&M record for career rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns, getting his 44th rushing and 45th overall on a 2-yard run in the third quarter.
Maclin finished with five catches for 146 yards, and his catch-and-run with 1:43 to go in the first half was the school's longest scoring play since an 86-yard run by Robert Delpino in 1987.
Tony Temple scored on a 44-yard run in the first quarter, Missouri's longest run of the year, and the Tigers enjoyed their longest drive of the year on a 17-play march capped by Chase Coffman's 5-yard catch in the second quarter.
Temple, who left immediately after the game to attend his grandmother's funeral, finished with 22 carries for 141 yards.
Texas A&M scored on its first two possessions of the second half. Mike Goodson's 43-yard catch on a tipped ball set up Lane's 2-yard run, and Kerry Franks had a 60-yard catch in the second quarter that set up McGee's 6-yard scoring pass to Bennett.
McGee finished 18-of-28 for 247 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He said the missed field goal was one of the biggest plays of the game.
``When we get down there, we've got to convert,'' McGee said. ``You move the ball all the way down there and you don't get points, it can be a big momentum changer.''
The game drew a near-sellout of 64,945 and gave Missouri a season-average attendance of 60,232, the school's best since 1981.