The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

December 31, 2013

O-State defense faces tough task vs. Tigers

IRVING, Texas — The Oklahoma State defense may face its toughest test in Friday’s Cotton Bowl against a Missouri team ranked third in the Southeastern Conference scoring offense with 39 points per game.

What makes the Tigers a dangerous offense is their balanced attack, especially since the return of quarterback James Franklin, who missed three games with an injury. Mizzou ranks in the top 5 of the SEC in both the run and pass — second in rushing offense with 236.5 yards per game and fifth in passing offense with 256.5 yards.

“It’s hard, because you watch them on film with what they’ve done against supposedly better teams in the nation (in the SEC) and better defenses in the nation, week-in and week-out they are able to move the ball on them,” said Cowboy defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer. “You can’t find a weakness because they are so balanced.”

And it’s not just one player in either aspect that OSU will be able to lock in on.

Missouri has three running backs with over 500 yards on the season — in addition to Franklin with nearly 500 yards rushing himself.

Henry Josey leads the pace with 1,074 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns, followed by Russell Hansbrough with 660 and four touchdowns, and Marcus Murphy with 571 with nine touchdowns. All three of the Mizzou running backs are averaging over six yards per rush attempt.

“As a defensive coordinator, you go in wanting to stop the run game first,” Spencer said. “With Josey, and even his backups, they are all explosive backs. And then you get a running quarterback involved and it gives them an extra number, so they have that element, too.”

The Tigers are equally dangerous in the pass attack three receivers over 600 yards receiving, and two others with at least 200 yards receiving.

The Missouri quarterbacks — between Franklin and Maty Mauk, who has still seen some action even with Franklin back from injury — have spread the ball around to top targets Dorial Green-Beckham, Marcus Lucas and L’Damian Washington.

“They have the biggest, strongest wide receivers we’ve seen all year,” Spencer said. “They always come down with the ball, it doesn’t have to be a perfect ball.”

Green-Beckham and Lucas each have 55 catches with Green-Beckham leading the team with 12 touchdown receptions and second behind Washington with 830 yards. Despite eight fewer catches than Green-Beckham and Lucas, Washington leads the receivers with 853 yards and is second on the squad with 10 touchdowns.

“They have the ability to jump up there and make the catch at the highest point of the ball,” said OSU safety Daytawion Lowe. “The quarterbacks kind of throw it up and they go get it at the highest point. That makes them very effective when you’ve got guys who can just out-jump the defensive backs.”

Missouri’s success in getting to the pass at the peak lies in the size of their receivers. Washington is the shortest at 6-foot-4, Lucas is 6-5 and Green-Beckham is listed at 6-6. Safety Lyndell Johnson is the tallest Cowboy in the secondary at 6-foot-3, with most other defensive backfield starters around 6-foot.

“That’s one thing we’ve been working on is playing the ball in the air,” Lowe said. “We’ve got to make plays on the ball and that’s what it’s going to come down to because their receivers are going to go up and get the ball. They’ve got us by a couple of inches, so it’s no secret what we’ve got to do.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Radio-TV for 7-29-14

    July 28, 2014

  • Judge OKs sale of Clippers

    A judge ruled against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling on Monday in his attempt to block the $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

    July 28, 2014

  • OU logo color.jpg Probe continues into incident involving Sooner RB Joe Mixon

    Norman Police are still investigating the alleged assault in which Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon is a suspect.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bradford Bradford: Yet another make or break season

    The St. Louis Rams quarterback is not surprised that once again, he’s supposedly at a career crossroads.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • celebration picture.jpeg DBAT Gallegos headed to Connie Mack World Series

    DBAT Gallegos, who has been battling adversity all season (lost five players through injuries) took advantage of their opportunities in beating Metroplex rival Dallas Mustangs, 3-0 Sunday in the finals of the Connie South Plains Regional.
    The victory put the DBAT (34-7) into the Connie Mack World Series, which begins Friday at Farmington, N.M.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Meadowlake retains Enid Ryder Cup

    Jay Betchan might have a statement a week before he tries to defend his Wheat Capital championship next week.
    Betchan completed a perfect 3-0 record for Meadowlake with a 6-and-4 win over John Petersen as the Municipal Course took the Enid Ryder Cup for the fourth straight year, 131⁄2-101⁄2 overall.
    The two teams split six singles matches Sunday at Oakwood in the final day of the three-day competition.

    July 27, 2014

  • Bruce Campbell mug use me Allie Reynolds belongs in Hall of Fame

    It was with a twinge of sadness watching the Baseball Hall of Fame ceremony on Sunday, knowing Oklahoma’s Allie Reynolds still is not in the Hall of Fame and there’s a good chance he won’t be in.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • DezPhoto.jpeg Bryant showing maurity as leader of Dallas receivers

    Dez Bryant is going into the final season of his rookie contract with the potential of a big pay day looming. And his answers on that topic sound more like a leader than the troubled rookie who didn’t pay his jewelry bills four years ago.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hall of Fame Photo.jeg Hall ceremony emotion for six inductees

    Frank Thomas choked back tears, Joe Torre apologized for leaving people out of his speech and Tony La Russa said he felt uneasy.
    Being enshrined in the Hall of Fame can have those effects, even on the greats.
    Thomas, pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, and managers Bobby Cox, Torre and La Russa were inducted into the baseball shrine Sunday, and all paid special tribute to their families before an adoring crowd of nearly 50,000.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gordon nails restart to win Brickyard 400

     With a fifth Brickyard 400 victory on the line Sunday, Jeff Gordon looked like the driver he was 20 years ago.
    Gordon nailed the final restart of the race — no given because restarts have been Gordon’s Achilles heel — to pass Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne with 17 laps remaining at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

    July 27, 2014

Click here for NASCAR headlines
Sports Photos


Enid News & Eagle sports photos from the month of February 2014. Enjoy all the ENE photos with full access at http://enidnews.smugmug.com.