Oklahoma State game has Missouri thinking overtime

Friday, October 6th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) _ It'll never appear on a highlight reel of Larry Smith's career at Missouri: a 1-25 record against ranked opponents.

But that one win, back in 1997 against No. 12 Oklahoma State, was a good one.

Two comebacks: Oklahoma State from 23 down to take the lead, then the Tigers from seven back to force overtime.

Two overtimes: Both scored in the first extra period, as well as the second. The Tigers extra point was good. Oklahoma State's swinging gate for two wasn't. Missouri wins, 51-50.

The lesson?

``I don't know,'' Smith said this week, as his team was getting ready for Saturday's game against the Cowboys at Faurot Field. ``It could be another overtime. I know this for sure, we're going to practice overtime this week.''

Good plan, since the Tigers win against the Cowboys in 1996 was an overtime winner, too, part of Missouri's recent run of success against Oklahoma State _ four wins in the last five meetings.

The momentum has probably worn off a series that's taken a two-year break. But Missouri, (1-3, 0-1 Big 12) with a new quarterback, with several key players lost to injury, suspension or dismissal, will take what it can get.

``We know we have to win this game,'' said defensive end Justin Smith. ``Oklahoma State is a good football team and they're on the ropes like we are.''

The Cowboys (2-2, 0-1) are trying to turn around a season that started with a pair of wins, but has stalled after ugly losses to Southern Mississippi and Texas.

Oklahoma State coach Bob Simmons said he doesn't see Saturday's game against Missouri as a ``season changer,'' but began the week promising a full-scale evaluation of his team on both offense and defense.

``We have had some missed assignments in our routes, we have had some offensive linemen that have not blocked the right guy, and it has been a combination of a lot of things,'' Simmons said.

Missouri will be without several starters, none larger than quarterback Kirk Farmer, probably out for the season after breaking his left clavicle last week in a 42-24 loss to then top-ranked Nebraska.

``It is unfortunate that he went down because he was making good decisions and making big plays,'' Simmons said.

It's the second straight year the Tigers have lost Farmer in the middle of the season, and the results the first time around were disastrous. The Tigers lost four of their next five games and were shut out in three of those games.

Darius Outlaw, who was the Tigers' third quarterback heading into the preseason, will start in Farmer's place.

``It's a chance to come out and give it a shot,'' Outlaw said. ``Every guy wants a shot _ this is mine. Kirk did a great job, though. I have big shoes to fill.''

The Tigers offensive line has promised Outlaw he won't be touched by an Oklahoma State defense that has 18 sacks so far this season. It's a claim they can make after not giving up a sack at Nebraska.

``We have to make sure we do a good job of protecting, and give him a chance to throw the football and make good decisions back there,'' Larry Smith said.

NOTES: Missouri safety Julian Jones, who didn't play last week at Nebraska, should start Saturday. ... The Tigers have played the fourth-toughest schedule in the county so far, according to the Sagarin computer rankings. ... Both Smith and Simmons are graduates of Bowling Green State University in Ohio. ... Even after giving up 205 yards rushing in their loss to Texas, the Cowboys are the best team against the run in the Big 12. ... Senior offensive lineman Josh Lind, the only player from Missouri on the Oklahoma State team, should make his 26th straight start for the Cowboys.