No. 23 Oklahoma 13, Missouri 9
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) _ Jerald Moore turned a short pass into Oklahoma’s biggest play.
He took advantage of a Missouri blitz and turned a swing pass from Eric Moore into a 72-yard touchdown with 6:20 to play as the 23rd-ranked Sooners escaped with a 13-9 victory Saturday. He scored the other Oklahoma touchdown on a 41-yard run in the second quarter and scored on carries of 60 and 72 yards last week in a loss to Kansas.
``I think it’s only a matter of time when you keep pounding it that you can break one,″ Moore said. ``They can only stop a certain play so many times.″
Former walk-on Mark Norris kicked three field goals for Missouri, which almost bagged its first victory over a ranked opponent in nearly three years. But after Norris missed a 41-yard attempt with 7:15 to play that would have padded a 9-7 lead, Oklahoma needed only three plays to produce the game-winner and hand coach Howard Schnellenberger his 100th career victory.
On third-and-4 from the Oklahoma 28, Moore caught a swing pass and outran several defenders down the sideline for his second touchdown of the day.
``They were stacking about nine people on the line,″ Moore said. ``We figured if we could make a few guys miss, there wasn’t anybody back there to tackle me.″
Missouri coach Larry Smith blamed the touchdown on his team’s youth.
``We wanted to play an aggressive game, we wanted to be risk players, which we were, and that happens,″ Smith said. ``But that won’t happen in the future because we’re playing a lot of young players, a lot of guys who are really starting to play well.″
Jerald Moore ran for 117 yards on 26 carries, his fourth 100-yard day of the year and third in a row. Last week he had 219 yards in a loss to Kansas.
Oklahoma (5-2-1, 2-2 Big Eight) has a 12-game winning streak against Missouri and has won 24 of 26. This one was nothing like recent mismatches _ Oklahoma won by an average of 47-15 the previous six meetings _ even though it assured Missouri (2-6, 0-4) of its 12th consecutive losing season.
``I think we played too good to lose, but we did,″ Smith said.
The Sooners had to make a last stand after Eric Moore fumbled on a rollout and Brian Cracraft recovered for Missouri at the Oklahoma 21 with 4:18 to go. The Tigers went nowhere, though, and Brandon Corso’s pass on fourth-and-11 to Eddie Brooks fell short.
``Well, this was a game we should have won by a bigger score, it was a game that could have been won by a bigger score,″ Schnellenberger said. ``They gave us all we wanted.″
Oklahoma relied on its defense even though the Sooners were without end Cedric Jones, who has a knee injury, and two other starting ends.
``We can’t worry about the offense, we just have to play our game,″ tackle Martin Chase said. ``Missouri was trying to get into our heads, but we stayed strong.″
Norris hit a 36-yard field goal in the first quarter and a 28-yarder on the first play of the second quarter. His 39-yarder, set up when Oklahoma punter Brian Lewis couldn’t handle a low snap and was tackled for a 16-yard loss, put Missouri ahead 9-7 with 7:35 left in the third quarter.
Norris, who earned a scholarship this spring, made it six in a row before ending up wide right on his 41-yard try with 7:15 to go.
Oklahoma had 6 yards total offense and no first downs in the first quarter and Missouri led 6-0 after Norris’ second field goal, on the first play of the second quarter.
The second field goal was set up when DeMontie Cross partially blocked a punt that ended up traveling 11 yards to the Oklahoma 47.
Jerald Moore, who had three carries for 4 yards in the first quarter, broke loose for a 41-yard run that put the Sooners ahead 7-6 with 8:28 left in the half. But Missouri stopped him on fourth-and-inches from the 3 with 5:43 remaining.
Two days after pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault charges, wide receiver Rahsetnu Jenkins made a quiet season debut for Missouri. He played on special teams and wide receiver, but dropped the only pass thrown to him.