Just a week after falling below .500 for the first time since 2004, the Missouri Tigers capped off a week of celebration for the school’s 100th homecoming anniversary with a 52-17 rout of the Iowa State Cyclones.
It was a total team effort for the Tigers as quarterback James Franklin found the end zone five different times, while tailback Henry Josey rushed for over 100-yards for the third time this season.
“[Josey has] some quicks. He touches the football, he’s a difference guy, and he’s a young player,” Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel said. “Boy you just have to give him a little seam and with his acceleration he’s really a very impressive guy.”
Playing in front of 71,004 fans, the first sellout at Farout Field since last season’s homecoming game against Oklahoma, Missouri opened the game with 10 straight runs, including a 1-yard sneak from Franklin with 12:03 to go in the first quarter for its fastest touchdown of the season. Franklin and the Missouri offense found the end zone again just minutes later after an Iowa State fumble set up a 2-yard touchdown run for Josey, who finished the game with 129 yards and a touchdown on 19 attempts.
“I had a great game today, and my offensive line did a great job. We came out with a lot of confidence,” Josey, the Big 12’s leading rusher, said. “[Offensive coordinator Dave] Yost did a good job of calling plays that allowed me to get into the open field.”
After essentially being a non-factor throughout the first half of the season, tight end Michael Egnew caught 6 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown, including a 39-yard score late in the first quarter, the longest of his career. TJ Moe and Wes Kemp also found the end zone for Missouri, who finished the game with 583 yards of total offense and had 8 different players with receptions.
“It’s nice to see [Egnew] back in the game here,” Pinkel said. “We had a chance to get a lot of people out and catch a lot of footballs.”
While Franklin did complete 20 of his 28 passes for 289 yards and 3 touchdowns, he did throw 2 interceptions on consecutive drives early in the game, one of which was returned 78-yards for a touchdown.
“Those were very poor decisions by James, and the great thing about that is he came back,” Pinkel said. “[The interceptions] were almost back-to-back, we lost field position. And can you come out of that and continue to focus, regain your focus and go out and execute? So, there’s a great lesson there if you learn it and you apply it and I think he did.”
Next up for Missouri is #6 Oklahoma State who is coming off of a 38-26 victory over Texas.
The Cowboys, who have one of the most prolific offenses in the nation, are averaging 395.7 passing yards per game (2nd in the nation) and 49.2 points per game (2nd in the nation). Fortunately for Missouri, however, their defense leaves much to be desired, allowing an average of 27.3 points per game.
“Oklahoma State’s a great team to face next week,” Franklin said. “We’ll have to be at the top of our game.”
Bottom line, the key for Missouri will be to have the offense firing on all cylinders from the start. The margin of error, especially for Franklin, will be razor thin. While the team was able to recover from his 2 interceptions against Iowa State, the Cowboys present an entirely different challenge and have the offensive firepower to immediately turn any turnover into points. This game will come down to which offense can out perform the other. That tandem of quarterback Brandon Weeden and receiver Justin Blackmon masks a lot of flaws in Oklahoma State’s defense, because those two are talented enough to outscore any opposing team by themselves.
Missouri has not beaten Oklahoma State since 2005 and are winless at home against the Cowboys under Gary Pinkel. Kick-off is scheduled for 11 am next Saturday at Farout Field.
Quotes and stats courtesy of MUTigers.com