Down And Out?
Columbia, Missouri - For a team that had hopes of at least playing in a BCS bowl game, Missouri is left with one path to get there after consecutive losses - win the Big 12 North and try for an upset in the conference championship over one of the heavyweights from the South Division.
After defeats to Oklahoma State and Texas, any national championship hopes have evaporated and the margin for error to win the North is all but gone for the No. 16 Tigers, who host Colorado on Saturday knowing they will likely have to win the rest of their games to take the division for the second straight year.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Missouri –21.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 70% of bets for this game have been placed on Missouri –21.5 (View College Football bet percentages).
Missouri (5-2, 1-2) trails No. 19 Kansas by a game in the North.
"Where we're at right now, nothing behind us matters," Tigers coach Gary Pinkel said. "This game has become a very, very big football game, and that is where our focus will be."
It's a familiar spot for Missouri. Last season, the Tigers also started 5-0, suffered a loss to Oklahoma then came back to reach the Big 12 title game for the first time in school history. They shook off a second defeat to the Sooners, a missed shot at the national championship game and a perceived BCS bowl snub to beat Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl and finish with a school-record 12 wins.
"Anytime you've gone through something once, it's always going to help the second time," offensive guard Kurtis Gregory said.
In last week's 56-31 loss at top-ranked Texas, the Tigers surrendered 35 consecutive points to open the game as the Longhorns scored on their first five possessions. Despite getting 28 points in the second half, Missouri couldn't diminish its deficit to less than 25.
The 56 points were the most the Tigers gave up since a 62-9 loss at Clemson in 2000, and the 591 yards Texas gained were the most surrendered since allowing Iowa State to amass 602 in a 42-35 loss in 2002.
The Missouri rush defense has taken the biggest hit during the losing streak. Over the first five games, the Tigers gave up 94.4 yards per game on the ground, but Oklahoma State ran for 187 yards in a 28-23 win on Oct. 11 and Texas followed with 203 last week.
The Missouri offense, which was ranked No. 1 in the nation for two weeks, has also slipped. After averaging 53.4 points during their first five games, the Tigers totaled 54 against Oklahoma State and Texas.
Missouri rushed for 94 yards in those two losses after averaging 193.2 in its previous five games. The Tigers, however, still rank in the top five nationally in offense and scoring, and Chase Daniel remains among the nation's leading passers with 339.0 yards per game. Sophomore running back Derrick Washington is also tied for first in the country with 14 touchdowns.
Colorado (4-3, 1-2) broke a three-game skid with a 14-13 win over visiting Kansas State last Saturday and shook up an offense that ranks last in the Big 12. The Buffaloes brought in freshman quarterback Tyler Hansen in the first quarter to split time with sophomore and two-year starter Cody Hawkins.
Hansen, who Colorado was planning to redshirt this season, threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Scotty McKnight in the second quarter and also rushed 19 times for 86 yards.
"We just looked at where we were on offense and what it is we needed to do and what we thought we could do," Buffaloes coach Dan Hawkins said. "We felt like his athleticism at quarterback was going to give us another dimension, and it did."
The quarterbacks combined to go 13-for-25 for 106 yards with a touchdown and an interception, but freshman running back Rodney Stewart carried most of the load, rushing a season-high 29 times for 141 yards and a touchdown.
Missouri has won three of the last four games over Colorado and has taken the last two meetings at home. Last season, the Tigers won 55-10 in Boulder as Daniel passed for a then-career high 421 yards and tied his own school record with five touchdowns. Tight end Chase Coffman caught three of those TDs, and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin had 108 yards and a score.
Missouri leads the overall series 39-31-3.
Top Betting Trends:
All games in this series since 1992
MISSOURI is 9-5 against the spread versus COLORADO since 1992
COLORADO is 11-5 straight up against MISSOURI since 1992
4 of 8 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL since 1992
Games over the last 3 seasons
MISSOURI is 2-0 against the spread versus COLORADO over the last 3 seasons
MISSOURI is 2-0 straight up against COLORADO over the last 3 seasons
2 of 2 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
All games played at MISSOURI since 1992
MISSOURI is 4-3 against the spread versus COLORADO since 1992
COLORADO is 5-3 straight up against MISSOURI since 1992
2 of 4 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL since 1992
Games played at MISSOURI over the last 3 seasons.
MISSOURI is 1-0 against the spread versus COLORADO over the last 3 seasons
MISSOURI is 1-0 straight up against COLORADO over the last 3 seasons
1 of 1 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
Key Player Injuries
[RB] Darrell Scott left last game %27?%27 - Ankle - 10/06/08
[RB] Brian Lockridge expected to miss entire season. - Hernia - 09/26/08
[WR] Markques Simas expected to miss entire season - Eligibility - 08/21/0
[WR] Kendrick Celestine has left the team. - Personal - 09/24/08
[WR] Jason Espinoza missed last 5 games, upgraded to probable. - Collarbon
[OL] Ryan Miller expected to miss remainder of season - Leg - 09/29/08
[OT] Sione Tau expected to miss entire season - Eligibility - 08/21/08
[DE] Drew Hudgins expected to miss entire season - ACL - 08/14/08
[DE] Jason Brace missed last game, %27?%27 - Concussion - 10/05/08
[LB] Lynn Katoa expected to miss entire season - Eligibility - 09/18/08
[LB] Jon Major expected to miss entire season - ACL - 08/14/08
[S] Ryan Walters injured last game, upgraded to probable. - Knee - 10/08/0
[LB] BJ Beatty missed last game %27?%27 - Leg - 10/04/08
[OL] Max Tuioti-Mariner is expected to miss the remainder of the season. -
[OL] Bryan Webb has quit the team. - Personal - 08/16/08
[DL] Andy Maples is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. - Foot - 08/16/08
[DE] Michael Keck has quit the team. - Personal - 09/03/08
[LB] Steve Redmond expected to miss entire season - MCL - 09/15/08
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Posted: 10/21/08 3:26 PM