Sulak peaks in Colorado Print
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Wednesday, 29 October 2008 13:23
NCAAF Headline News

 COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -Stryker Sulak has been one of Missouri's best defenders throughout his career. Last week against Colorado, Sulak might have played his best game yet.
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound defensive end had six tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble in Missouri's 58-0 win over the Buffaloes. The 14th-ranked Tigers (6-2, 2-2) play at Baylor (3-5, 1-3) on Saturday.
``He was really impressive,'' coach Gary Pinkel said.
Coaches decided to move Sulak around against the Buffaloes, instead of keeping him at his usual right side. The move paid off for Sulak, a senior who leads the team with six sacks and is second with 10 tackles for losses. He is among the top five in the Big 12 in both categories. He's also forced a team-high five fumbles.
``If somebody is around me, I usually think about (getting) the ball if someone has my gap,'' Sulak said. ``If you knock the ball out, it's a loss of down no matter what. But it feels great, no matter what.''
exas, arrived as a freshman in 2004 lacking bulk. His speed off the edge made Sulak a tough matchup for opposing offensive linemen. He has 18 career sacks, fourth-best in school history.
Coaches say he has become much more than a pass rush specialist.
``We're able to do some things with him - drop him and rush him and line up wide - because he is really athletic,'' defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus said.
Sulak nearly left for the NFL after last season, when he had a career high six sacks and 60 tackles. But pre-draft evaluations weren't what he hoped, so he opted to return.
``His hard work in practice and drills are showing up now in the game,'' fellow defensive end Tommy Chavis, who missed the Colorado game with an ankle injury, said. ``He's more focused. But he's always been a great kid and great pass rusher as well.''
YOUNGSTOWN REUNION: Saturday's Nebraska-Oklahoma matchup will feature two Youngstown, Ohio natives and former Hayden Fry disciples roaming the sidelines; Sooners coach Bob Stoops and first-year Cornhuskers coach Bo Pelini.
The pair worked together in 2004, as Pelini served as Stoops' co-defensive coordinator for a season before heading to LSU. They renewed acquaintances this summer at a fundraiser for their old high school, and Stoops said they chuckled about the irony of two guys from the south side of Youngstown coaching in the Oklahoma-Nebraska game.
That doesn't mean Stoops is looking forward to facing his fellow alumnus in such a high-stakes rivalry game.
``It's never exciting going against your friends,'' Stoops said.
TENURE IS KEY: Kansas State coach Ron Prince thinks coaching experience is one of the biggest reasons why the South division is once again head and shoulders above the North.
M and Art Briles of Baylor sit in the South basement.
Missouri, which has the best overall record in the North at 6-2 and is tied with Nebraska and Kansas for the division lead at 2-2, also has the division's longest-tenured coach in Gary Pinkel. He took over the Tigers in 2001.
ng to find is that the teams that have their coaches tenured the longest are really right there in the mix,'' Prince said. ``The conference is in such a place where experienced quarterbacks and experienced coaches that have had time to put their teams together are really clicking on offense, and I think it takes a while to put the defense put together to go match it.''
M sophomore Jerrod Johnson joins it.
M's 49-35 win at Iowa State. Johnson spread the wealth against the woeful Cyclones, finding four different receivers for at least six receptions and upping his overall completion percentage to 65 percent.
Johnson's performance came just two weeks after he set a school record with 419 yards passing in a loss at Kansas State.
Aside from the gaudy passing numbers, Johnson has avoided the turnover bug that can plague young quarterbacks. He hasn't thrown an interception in three weeks.
better decisions,'' Sherman said.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Oklahoma's Travis Lewis (defense) and Texas Tech's Matt Williams (special teams) joined Red Raiders quarterback Harrell as the league's players of the week. Lewis led the Sooners with 15 tackles and two interceptions in a 58-35 win over Kansas State. Williams, who as a student came out of the stands against UMass on Sept. 20 and won a year of free rent by connecting on a 30-yard field goal between quarters, went 9-for-9 on extra-point attempts in his debut.
Harrell had 386 yards passing and five touchdown passes in the 63-21 win at Kansas.

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