Measure of revenge

Off to one of the best starts in school history, Missouri doesn't need any extra motivation against Iowa State. A short memory, though, is all it needs to make a potential victory even sweeter.

The 13th-ranked Tigers seek their seventh win in eight games and a small measure of revenge on Saturday afternoon when they host the last-place Cyclones in a Big 12 matchup.

Oddsmakers from Bodog.com have made Missouri -28.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday's game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 54% of bets for this game have been placed on Missouri -28.5 (View College Football bet percentages).

Missouri (6-1, 2-1) has won six of its first seven games for the second consecutive season, and finds itself one game behind surprising Kansas in the Big 12 North Division. Although they have five games remaining, the Tigers can't be blamed for looking toward a possible appearance in the Big 12 championship game in San Antonio.

"We can go to San Antonio," linebacker Sean Weatherspoon said.

The Tigers had no trouble rebounding from their first loss of the season as they coasted to a 41-10 rout of then-No. 22 Texas Tech last Saturday.

Backup Jimmy Jackson rushed for three touchdowns and Missouri intercepted Graham Harrell four times en route to its 13th win in 14 home games.

Most impressive was the Tigers' defense, which limited the explosive Red Raiders to more than 100 yards and exactly 40 points below their season averages.

Cornerback Cornelius Brown led Missouri's stifling defense with a career-high 14 tackles and an interception.

"He gets a lot of big hits in games, and he's a guy that seems to always be around the ball," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "He just always seems to be close to the ball, and therefore gives himself the opportunity to make plays."

Jackson and freshman Derrick Washington filled in admirably for starting running back Tony Temple, who missed his second straight game with an ankle injury.

With Missouri's ground game working so well, quarterback Chase Daniel - fifth nationally in total offense (354.4) - had 210 yards passing on only 19 attempts, both season lows.

"What we're trying to do is we're just trying to get better every week and I think we're making progress there," Pinkel said.

With four of their final five games against teams with winning records, the Tigers have to be careful not to let down against the Cyclones (1-7, 0-4), the worst team in the Big 12. Improving to 7-1, however, may not be the only reason why Missouri wants to win Saturday.

In the most recent matchup between these teams on Nov. 18 in Ames, the Tigers appeared to have gone ahead for good when Daniel scored on 4th-and-goal with 26 seconds left. A phantom holding call, though, nullified the touchdown and Missouri failed to convert on the ensuing play.

Two days later, the league's supervisor of officials admitted that the crew working the game made the wrong call and the touchdown should have counted. The call was the difference between an 8-5 and a 9-4 season for the Tigers.

"He said to me, 'If you call that (holding) you have to call it 40 times a game,'" Pinkel said. "For him to admit that, it said a lot about him and the integrity of the conference office."

Although the result was their fifth straight loss, the Cyclones performed much better last Saturday in a 17-7 defeat to then-No. 4 Oklahoma after they were embarrassed in a 56-3 loss to Texas the previous week.

"I thought they responded really well to the week before," coach Gene Chizik said. "I thought they came in and played with passion."

While Missouri ranks 10th in the nation in scoring (40.1), Iowa State owns one of the country's weakest offenses (15.1). The Cyclones haven't had a run longer than 24 yards and a punt return of more than 14 yards this season.

Missouri had won three straight against Iowa State before last season's controversial loss. Five of the past seven meetings have been decided by seven points or fewer, including the last three.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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