|Prolific offenses collide in key Big 12 game|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 09 October 2008 21:45|
``We were 4-0, so I have a lot of good memories,'' said the Cowboys' head coach.
``I liked Missouri then,'' he added, ``better than I do now.''
On Saturday night, Gundy's 17th-ranked Cowboys will see if they can build on a high-flying offensive start against the even higher-flying Tigers.
No. 3 Missouri averages 53 points, second-best in the nation, and Oklahoma State averages 52 points, third-best.
``It'll be a good show for the fans,'' Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel said. ``I think it's going to be a great offensive showdown.''
Missouri (5-0, 1-0 Big 12) was a 14-point favorite to win for the 19th time in 20 games at home. The over-under of 80 points was the oddsmakers' highest of the week, and both teams are ranked for the first time since 1976.
in the series since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996, but all but one of those games was decided by seven or fewer points.
Oklahoma State has won four of its last five on the road, if you count a 39-13 victory over Washington State in Seattle to open 2008, but this will be the Cowboys' first true away game of the year.
``I think we have a great setup,'' Gundy said. ``We've got a team that arguably may be the best in the country right now, and we've got a team that's playing pretty good football, that has made some strides.
``It's an opportunity for our guys to compete against the best.''
Missouri is overloaded with offensive threats served by their Heisman Trophy finalist from 2007. Daniel has completed 76 percent of his passes for 15 touchdowns with just one interception, a strong early bid to top his fourth-place Heisman finish from last December.
Sophomore tailback Derrick Washington leads the nation in scoring with 13 touchdowns and reached the end zone three times in a rout at Nebraska last week. The first-string offense has yet to go 3-and-out and has scored on 69 percent of its possessions (33-for-48).
All-American Jeremy Maclin is fifth in the nation in all-purpose yardage with an 186.8-yard average and seven touchdowns, five on receptions, one on a run and one on a kickoff return.
n at under two minutes, leaving them with an ugly 118th in the country in time of possession.
``That's never been a concern for us,'' Maclin said. ``If you're scoring points, it doesn't matter.''
Oklahoma State has topped 50 points four straight games for the first time in school history, holds its highest ranking since mid-2004 and would secure only its second 6-0 start since 1945 with a win at Columbia.
Dez Bryant is the Cowboys' version of Maclin, ranking fifth in the nation with 110 receiving yards per game, second at 13.2 points and fourth with a 23.6-yard punt return average.
Bryant, Daniel noted, is ``unbelievable in his own right.'' But he also said, ``We believe we have the better guys.''
Oklahoma State is not quite as explosive as Missouri, relying more on a prolific rushing attack averaging 315 yards - second-best in the nation. Quarterback Zac Robinson has 10 touchdown passes and only three interceptions, and Kendall Hunter leads the Big 12 with 708 rushing yards, a 7-yard average and eight touchdowns.
``It doesn't matter who we're playing, our goal is to score every time we go out there,'' Robinson said. ``That's how it's always been since I've been here.''
Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon knows it'll be a stiff test and called Oklahoma State's offense one of the most underrated in the Big 12.
(51st) and Missouri (83rd) both putting up so-so numbers.
Missouri has been fairly strong against the run, allowing 95 yards per game. But that statistic no doubt has been helped because the opposition is always playing catchup.
The linebackers have big-play ability, returning four interceptions for touchdowns.
Oklahoma State's defense has allowed 196 passing yards per game, not encouraging for a unit trying to control Missouri's aerial circus.
Linebacker Andre Sexton said the strategy is to contain the Tigers while adding to the eight turnovers the Cowboys have forced the last two weeks.
``Just getting pressure on Chase Daniel, getting in his face, trying to hit him and disrupt him a little bit, get him out of his groove,'' Sexton said. ``I know we can't stop them, so we just have to slow them down as much as we can.''