Mizzou wants payback for 66-0 shellacking

Saturday, November 24, 2001

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- The last time Missouri played a football game here, Kansas State humiliated the Tigers 66-0 -- the third-worst loss in their 111-year history.

"If they really wanted to, they could've put 100 points up," Missouri linebacker Jamonte Robinson said, "because I don't think too many of the guys who were playing were going to try to do much to stop them at that point."

Some of Missouri's players who remember that 1999 game would love nothing better than to pay this year's Wildcats back by ending their season.

Kansas State (5-5), which has played in eight straight postseason games, needs a win today to become bowl eligible. The Tigers, 4-5 in their first season under coach Gary Pinkel, could earn their first bowl bid since 1998 by winning against the Wildcats and Michigan State.

"These are the games that college football lives for," said Missouri wide receiver Justin Gage, who shared time at quarterback in that 66-0 loss. "This is a game that we've been looking at on our schedule, saying, 'We've got to get this game.' Now's the time."

That sort of emotion from Missouri, which is coming off a bye week, is just one of Kansas State's concerns.

Another is the inconsistent play of quarterbacks Ell Roberson and Marc Dunn, whom coach Bill Snyder shuffled in and out of last week's 40-7 win over Louisiana Tech. Between them, they've thrown twice as many interceptions (16) as touchdown passes (8), while completing only 43 percent of their total attempts.

"They know what we have to do, and it starts with the quarterback in terms of making sure they make proper decisions," offensive coordinator Ron Hudson said. "They just need to quit trying to create plays on their own ... and they'll be fine."

Roberson, the regular starter, has partially offset his passing struggles by running for 629 yards and nine touchdowns. He has a nagging ankle sprain but is projected to start if he's healthy.

Missouri quarterback Kirk Farmer, meanwhile, could also be the Tigers' punter on Saturday, after Pinkel suspended starting punter Jared Gilpin and backup Brock Harvey for violating team rules.

Pinkel said he had settled on a starter on Wednesday, but would not make any announcement. Later that day, Farmer and reserve cornerback Marcus King were the only two players practicing punting for the Tigers.

If Kansas State can get past Missouri, the Wildcats will find themselves competing with fellow Big 12 members Texas Tech and Iowa State for spots in the Independence, Insight.com and Galleryfurniture.com bowls.

Don't ask Snyder to handicap the bowl race, though.

"I have a decent idea what it is anyway, but I really haven't paid attention to it," he said. "I have no intention of doing it until the time is appropriate."

Missouri and Kansas State were originally scheduled to meet last week, but the Tigers agreed to push the game back a week so Kansas State could play Louisiana Tech. That game had been set for Sept. 15, but was postponed after the terror attacks of Sept. 11.

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