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Bowl hopes, Parks buried in Missouri

Nov. 15, 2005

by DANIEL YOUNGBLOOD, reporter

With a 31-16 loss to the University of Missouri Tigers on Saturday in Columbia, Mo., the Baylor football team's record dropped to 4-6, ending its hopes of reaching a bowl game.

After two straight shutouts, it appeared the Bears might be blanked again after they went to halftime down 21-0 and were unable to put up any offense behind sophomore quarterback Terrance Parks.

Parks was sacked five times and was unable to find any consistency in the passing game, completing nine of 21 pass attempts for 64 yards and an interception, which was returned for Missouri's first touchdown.

With just under three minutes remaining in the third quarter and a 24-0 deficit for the Bears, the decision was made to replace Parks with junior Shawn Bell in hopes that he could spark an offense that had put up just 80 total yards and six first downs.

Bell provided the spark they were looking for, leading the Bears to two touchdowns and a field goal in three drives, cutting what once appeared to be an insurmountable deficit to just eight points.

Junior receiver Dominique Zeigler, who caught a six-yard touchdown pass for the Bears' first score, said a change in mindset was responsible for the team's resurgence.

"Toward the end of the game, we just started saying let's just play one play at a time," Zeigler said. "And if we get one touchdown, you never know what can happen."

But with six minutes left in the contest, all the offense could do was watch from the sidelines as Missouri's standout quarterback, Brad Smith, ran for a 56-yard touchdown on fourth and one to end the Bears' comeback bid and put the final seal on a Missouri victory.

For Baylor, it was a tale of two games and a case of the team making its move too late. In the first 42 minutes and 15 seconds, the Bears were out-gained by nearly 200 yards and were outscored 24-0. In the remaining time, the Bears were able to rack up 238 yards, score 16 points and threaten on two other drives that ended inside the Missouri 10-yardline.

Head Coach Guy Morriss said he was disappointed in the play of the offense, but didn't think Parks was the only problem.

"It wasn't all on Terrance (Parks)," Morriss said. "Everybody took a turn in it."

Bell said he would've liked to have gotten a shot earlier.

"I was frustrated the offense wasn't moving the ball," Bell said. "I know what I can do, and I think I proved it somewhat today. To be honest, I've been proving it all season."

Bell finished the game with 206 passing yards and two touchdowns in just over a quarter of play, but it wasn't enough to overcome the team's slow start.

The Bay-lor defense played well at times and with the exception of two 56-yard touchdown runs, they were able to execute their game plan of bottling up Smith.

Smith completed nine of 23 pass attempts for 72 yards and an interception.

Morriss said he was happy with the defensive play outside of the two long runs.

"I think defensively, again, they played well enough for us to win the football game," Morriss said.

The Bears will have to regroup as they close out its season with a home game against the Oklahoma State University Cowboys at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Morriss said the team will be ready for senior day, and that the underclassmen will help send the seniors out with a win.

"I feel confident they'll bounce back," Morriss said. "We can be the first senior class in the history of Baylor being in the Big 12 to win two conference games in the same year. I heard the young players saying we've got to have that happen for the seniors -- now we've got to go do it."