Missouri, Oklahoma will meet with each missing key player

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

DALLAS -- Oklahoma won its first game without Big 12 rushing leader Adrian Peterson. Now, the Sooners face a Missouri team that will play its first game without one of the league's top defenders.

Tigers defensive end Brian Smith, the school's career sack leader, broke his right hip last weekend and is done for the regular season. Coach Gary Pinkel still can't explain how the injury occurred.

"If you saw that film, you'd say there's no way in the world he even got hurt," Pinkel said Monday on the Big 12 coaches teleconference. "He just kind of turned and kind of stumbled. There was not hardly any contact at all. It was just as freakish as you could ever imagine."

Since he has to be on crutches for 6-8 weeks before any kind of rehabilitation even without surgery, it's unlikely that Smith would be able to return and play in a bowl game. The senior is tied for third in the Big 12 with 7 1/2 sacks this season, and has 31 1/2 in his career.

Smith got hurt in the second half of Missouri's 41-21 victory over Kansas State on Saturday, the same day the Sooners beat Colorado 24-3 in their first game since Peterson broke his collarbone falling into the end zone.

No. 19 Oklahoma (5-2, 2-1 Big 12), which will need help to win the Big 12 South because of its loss to Texas, plays Saturday at No. 23 Missouri (7-1, 3-1), the North co-leader with No. 20 Nebraska (6-2, 3-1).

Peterson, who hopes to return for a bowl game, was on the sideline last weekend in a hooded sweat shirt and cap. The 2004 Heisman Trophy runner-up was encouraging teammates and his replacement, Allen Patrick, who ran 35 times for 110 yards and a touchdown.

"As much attention as Adrian gets, he's not a selfish guy and is more team-oriented," coach Bob Stoops said. "He realizes he still has a place on the team being a leader. He's just doing what's natural to him."

The Sooners keep moving forward, even after losing Peterson and starting quarterback Rhett Bomar before the season began.

"That's just a great program," Pinkel said. "It's not a surprise. They have great athletes. When they lose somebody, somebody else steps up their game. They're impressive. They keep getting better and better."

Especially on defense.

After holding Colorado to a season-low 113 yards, the Sooners have the Big 12's top-ranked defense (267 yards per game).

Players of the week

Baylor quarterback Shawn Bell, Missouri safety David Overstreet and Texas kicker Ryan Bailey were named the Big 12 players of the week. All were honored for the first time.

Bell set school records with 394 yards passing and five touchdowns, three in the final 9:22 of the Bears' 36-35 comeback victory over Kansas. His 18 TDs this season are also a school record.

Overstreet returned a fumble 41 yards for a touchdown and had a team-high nine tackles in Missouri's 41-21 victory over Kansas State.

Bell, a sophomore walk-on, made a 22-yard field goal in the snow with 23 seconds left to give Texas a 22-20 victory over Nebraska. It was his first field goal attempt at Texas.

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