October 8, 2008

Tiger defense braces for tough test

In five weeks, the Missouri Tigers have put up points at a nearly unbelievable pace. Mizzou is averaging 53.4 points a game, second in the nation. But on Saturday night, they get the first team who might be able to match them score for score. The Oklahoma State Cowboys are third in the nation in scoring and bring one of the nation's most potent attacks to Faurot Field.

"So far, yes," defensive tackle Ziggy Hood says when asked if the Cowboys are the best offense Missouri has faced. "Their running game is amazing. It's going to be a real test come Saturday."

Therein lies the major difference between the two teams. While the Tigers throw the ball more, the Cowboys certainly lean on the run first.

"Look at their yards. They're really, really good," Gary Pinkel said. "They're running the football as well as anybody in the country. Their rushing yards are phenomenal."

The Pokes run for 315 yards per game, putting them second in the country. Kendall Hunter leads the Big 12 in rushing by a ridiculous 41.6 yards over Mizzou's Derrick Washington. Teammate Keith Toston is fifth in the league on the ground, putting up 85.4 yards per game and 8.5 per carry.

"Their running game is their bread and butter, there's no question," said defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. "They want to do a good job running the football and they'll do a good job of that. Balance is the key and they were the same way last year."

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