Tigers eager for shot at revenge against Bowling Green

Saturday, September 14, 2002

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio -- Missouri coach Gary Pinkel doesn't need or want any more proof about the strength of the Mid-American Conference.

Not after 18 years as a player and coach in the MAC and last season's 20-13 loss to Bowling Green in his opening game with the Tigers.

"They killed us last year, so it doesn't take long for our players to figure out how good they are," Pinkel said. "They beat us every way you can beat us a year ago in the first game for our new program."

Missouri gets another shot at the Falcons today. It's only the second time a Big 12 team has come to Bowling Green.

"We're the ones that should have a chip on our shoulder, not Bowling Green," Pinkel said. "Bowling Green has beaten Missouri. They probably don't even question that they can beat Missouri."

But this time Missouri has a double threat in redshirt freshman quarterback Brad Smith who is averaging more than 120 yards rushing and more than 285 yards of total offense a game.

What worries Bowling Green coach Urban Meyer is what Smith will do when a play breaks down.

"What makes quarterbacks is, if they get pressured by a defensive lineman can he sidestep and still deliver the ball, or can he scramble, make a linebacker miss," Meyer said. "This kid can do all of those things."

Pinkel first saw Smith while he was still head coach at Toledo. Smith threw for more than 2,700 yards and 34 touchdowns in his career at Youngstown Chaney High School.

Smith came to Missouri and pushed two senior quarterbacks out of a job.

"I've coached some pretty good quarterbacks over the years, and I've never had a player like this before," Pinkel said. "He's just an 18-year-old redshirt freshman, but his maturity level is significantly higher."

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