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Bears visit hot Missouri Tigers

Nov. 14, 1997

Bears visit red hot Missouri Tigers

By Kevin Allen

Sports Writer for The Baylor Lariat

The Baylor Bears will play their last road game of the season at 1 p.m. Saturday, facing the Missouri Tigers at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Mo.

The 2­7 Bears have struggled through their first season under Head Coach Dave Roberts, and are coming off a 38­10 loss to Texas A&M. The Tigers (6­4), on the other hand, have been the surprise team of the Big 12 this season. Three of their four losses have come against ranked opponents, including last week's heartbreaker to then-No. 1 Nebraska, 45­38 in overtime.

'Missouri's a lot better team than they were last year,' sophomore defensive lineman Dwight Johnson said. 'They played Nebraska down to the wire.'

The overtime game against Nebraska moved Missouri into the No. 25 spot in the Associated Press poll. The Tigers will be the fifth ranked team that the Bears have faced this season, and will have to face No. 24 Oklahoma State next week.

'(Missouri) is a Big 12 team that looks like a Big 12 team ought to look,' Roberts said.

The Baylor defense has struggled this season, giving up more than 450 yards of total offense per game. Missouri has been a run-oriented team for most of the season, averaging more than 250 yards per game, the seventh best average in the nation.

But against Nebraska, the Tigers also showed the ability to throw the ball. Junior quarterback Corby Jones threw for 233 yards and three touchdowns against one of the top defenses in the country.

'The quarterback knows the system ... and is one of the best athletes on the team,' said junior strong safety Kenyada Parker. 'The whole offense is experienced.'

The Bears offense has continued to improve this season, according to Roberts. The Bears average 330 yards per game, and are ranked in the top 30 in the nation in total rushing.

'We think we're getting better (running the ball),' Roberts said. 'We're struggling throwing the ball right now.'

Last year's game in Waco featured three overtime periods and four touchdown passes by quarterback Jeff Watson in a game won by the Tigers, 49­42. Missouri leads the overall series 4­2; they are 2-1 in Columbia.

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