Columbia , MO - As it continued its pursuit of the Big 12 North division title last week, Missouri was hoping to dominate one of the conference's weaker teams.
Instead, it had to hang on for its narrowest victory in four seasons.
The 13th-ranked Tigers seek a stronger effort Saturday when they wrap up the home portion of their schedule against struggling Kansas State.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Missouri -26 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 74% of bets for this game have been placed on Missouri -26 (View College Football bet percentages).
Consecutive losses to then-No. 17 Oklahoma State and then-No. 1 Texas last month crushed Missouri's national championship hopes. However, the Tigers (7-2, 3-2) can get earn a spot in the Big 12 championship game for the second straight season if they can defeat Kansas State and Iowa State before a likely showdown for the North title against Kansas in the regular season finale Nov. 29 at Arrowhead Stadium.
Missouri is tied with the Jayhawks atop the North, but the Tigers didn't look much like a conference title contender last Saturday against a Baylor team with only one conference win. Missouri escaped with a 31-28 victory - its narrowest win since a 27-24 overtime victory over Iowa State on Oct. 15, 2005.
Against Baylor, the Tigers drove 75 yards on 13 plays to set up Jeff Wolfert's game-winning 34-yard field goal with 2:31 remaining. Linebacker Brock Christopher then intercepted a pass to seal the win.
"We got the job done. Personally, it should not have come down to that," receiver-returner Jeremy Maclin said. "We are a better team than we showed."
Missouri amassed 490 yards of offense against the Bears, but that production was muted by three turnovers. The Tigers' defense also looked flat, yielding 438 yards one week after limiting Colorado to an opponent season-low 199 yards in a 58-0 victory.
"We just want to go out there and play better than we did last week? that's the goal," Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon said. "We had a great game against Colorado, and kind of stepped back last week. Hopefully we can just go out there and cut down on things that hurt us this past week, and just go out and have a good week."
"As far as a defensive unit, we can just pretty much dominate these next three games, starting with K-State coming up. That will pretty much get us back in there? people will start talking about us again."
The Tigers should be able to find their rhythm on offense against the Wildcats (4-5, 1-4), who have the second-worst defense in the Big 12 (444.7 yards per game) and have allowed 110 points in their last two games.
Led by quarterback Chase Daniel, Missouri ranks sixth in the nation in total offense (514.1 ypg) and fourth in scoring (45.6 points per game).
Daniel threw for 318 yards and three touchdowns last week after tossing five TD passes in the win over Colorado. In last season's 49-32 victory over Kansas State, he completed 28 of 41 passes for 284 yards and four touchdowns.
Maclin, a sophomore who already became Missouri's career leader in all-purpose yardage (4,483) last Saturday, gained a school-record 360 all-purpose yards versus the Wildcats last season.
Sophomore running back Derrick Washington, who has rushed for 708 yards and 13 touchdowns on the season, might get a lot of carries Saturday against a Kansas State defense allowing more than 200 yards per game on the ground.
The Wildcats yielded 280 rushing yards and six touchdown runs in last Saturday's 52-21 loss to rival Kansas.
Quarterback Josh Freeman endured another rough game, throwing three interceptions. Six of the junior's eight interceptions this season have come in the last two games.
Kansas State has suffered three straight losses since a 44-30 victory at Texas A&M on Oct. 11. The Wildcats are 1-3 on the road this season, and have dropped 15 of their last 18 games away from Manhattan.
"We have to stay positive and continue to believe in ourselves and in the coaches," linebacker Ulla Pomele said. "We need to continue to go out and play every play."
Top Betting Trends
All games in this series since 1992
MISSOURI is 9-7 against the spread versus KANSAS ST since 1992
KANSAS ST is 13-3 straight up against MISSOURI since 1992
5 of 7 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 KANSAS ST over the last 3 seasons
MISSOURI is 2-0 straight up against KANSAS ST 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 5-3 against the spread versus KANSAS ST since 1992
KANSAS ST is 6-2 straight up against MISSOURI since 1992
3 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 KANSAS ST over the last 3 seasons
MISSOURI is 1-0 straight up against KANSAS ST 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] Leon Patton has been dismissed from the team - Suspension - 09/14/08
[S] Gary Chandler suspended indefinitely - Legal problems - 09/29/08
[OL] Bryan Webb has quit the team. - Personal - 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
[DB] Castine Bridges injured last game %27?%27 - Undisclosed - 10/25/08
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Posted: 11/04/08 5:14 PM