MUOSUQUICK – Missouri internet quickie
Oklahoma State leaves Mizzou rankled again
BY MIKE DeARMOND
The Kansas City Star
COLUMBIA – Two third-quarter James Franklin turnovers on a day when the Missouri quarterback turned it over four times turned Missouri hopes for an upset of No. 6 Oklahoma State into a discomforting 45-24 loss.
Missouri trailed by only a touchdown at the half. But a Franklin pass was tipped and then picked by Oklahoma State linebacker Sean Lewis at the Missouri 27. The Cowboys’ Joseph Randle ran 16 yards for a touchdown that boosted OSU on top 31-17.
After an end zone interception and 54-yard return of Brandon Weeden by Mizzou’s E.J. Gaines, Missouri drove to a second and goal at the Oklahoma State four.
There Franklin was hit and fumbled with Lewis covering the ball for Oklahoma State.
On the third play of OSU’s ensuing possession, Randle ran 59 yards to a touchdown that gave the Cowboys an insurmountable 38-17 lead. Randle finished the day with three rushing touchdowns and one receiving, running for 138 yards on only 14 carries.
The loss was Missouri’s fourth to a team currently ranked in the Associated Press’ Top 25 in what now is a 3-4 season for the Tigers.
The losses have come in what has become agonizing fashion: 37-30 in overtime at current No. 18 Arizona State, 38-28 at current No. 3 Oklahoma, 24-17 at current No. 17 Kansas State and now at home so convincingly to No. 6 Oklahoma State.
At some point it fails to matter how close you come or how high quality the opposition. You have to find a way to win one or two of those games. And Missouri has not found a way.
The way anticipated for Mizzou to stay close with Oklahoma State was to run the football. The Tigers tried early, but went three and out on their first two possessions.
Oklahoma State led 14-3 at the end of the first quarter and probably should have held a larger lead if not for receivers dropping passes left and right.
Even All-American wide receiver Justin Blackmon was not immune. Blackmon was behind the coverage when a potential touchdown pass inside the Missouri five fell off his hands.
Still, when Randle pulled in a short pass and ran it 13 yards for a touchdown, Oklahoma State took a 21-3 lead only four seconds into the second period.
At that point, Missouri offensive coordinator David Yost showed he might be ready to give up on the running game. But Yost came back to it and Big 12 Conference leading rusher Henry Josey.
With Kendial Lawrence capping it off with an 18-yard sweep around the right side for a touchdown, Missouri drove 78 yards on 12 plays, taking a season-high 5 minutes, 45 seconds on the scoring drive.
That pulled Missouri within 21-10.
After a Quinn Sharp field goal for the Cowboys, Missouri roared 80 yards in five plays with T.J. Moe hauling in a 34-yard scoring pass from Franklin.
At the half, Missouri trailed 24-17.
Early in the year the third quarter had seen Missouri’s offense nearly disappear. The Tigers scored just 16 points in the period through five games.
On Saturday Mizzou was shut out in the period, with the two Franklin turnovers turning a competitive game into a convincing defeat.
Franklin did rally Missouri back in the fourth quarter. Set up by a 32-yard pass to Wes Kemp to the Oklahoma State three, Franklin ran the final three yards for a touchdown that pulled Missouri within 38-24 with 8:20 to play.
Franklin finished the day 14 of 27 passing for 184 yards and also ran 15 times for 55 yards. But he added a second interception with 6:03 to play and a third with 3:38 left.
Josey netted 138 yards on a season-high 25 carries.
But the statistical war, like the numbers on the Memorial Stadium scoreboard, wound up heavily in favor of Oklahoma State.
Weeden completed 33 of 49 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns. Blackmon caught eight Weeden passes for 54 yards in the first half but did not play in the second half.
The Cowboys rolled up 533 yards total offense to Missouri’s 463.
Missouri fell to 3-4 overall and 1-3 in the Big 12. Oklahoma State moved to 7-0 and 4-0 in the Big 12.
The Cowboys did it with a ninth straight road victory, including a school record seventh straight conference road victory.
Oklahoma State returns home to Stillwater next Saturday for an ABC televised 2:30 p.m.game against Baylor.
That and a November 5 home game against Kansas State now seems all that stand in the way of Oklahoma heading undefeated into a December 3 home game against Oklahoma with the winner likely headed toward the BCS championship game.
Missouri – expected this week to be announced as the 14th member of the Southeastern Conference for 2012 – plays next at Texas A&M at 11 a.m. next Saturday.
With the Aggies already having announced their departure from the Big 12 for the SEC next season, the game in College Station, Texas could be one that will rub raw Big 12 pride.
If Mizzou and A&M kickoff with each assured of membership in the SEC in 2012, the game will be a nationally televised commercial for the SEC as part of the Big 12’s television package.