Oklahoma State doesn’t require too much of quarterback Donovan Woods.
Keeping mistakes to a minimum, getting the plays off in time and handing it to running back Vernand Morency typically comprise his duties.
Woods, though, provided the spark that helped propel the Cowboys to a 20-17 come-from-behind win at Missouri on Saturday.
“He was outstanding,” Morency said. “He played the style of football we asked him. We don’t ask for him to win the ball games, just put us in a great situation and the other playmakers can win the game.”
Woods’ spark, though, offered a tremendous supplement. He completed 7-of-13 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown, but he did damage by creating big plays in key situations. He had runs of 35 and 34 yards on zone read plays, which call for him to decide between giving the ball to Morency or keeping it.
Woods said he typically prefers to leave it in the hands of Morency because he considers him the best running back in the nation. Woods, though, showed he is an equal in terms of importance to the Cowboys’ offense. The 34-yard run, which came with 11:36 left, went for the touchdown that tied the score at 17.
“We did a great job and persevered,” Woods said.
His second-half performance atoned for a shaky first half, which included a fumble and interception. The fumble set up Missouri in scoring position, and the interception foiled a promising scoring drive.
Cowboys’ coach Les Miles said he was impressed with the poise Woods showed after the slow start.
“Donovan is a cool customer,” Miles said. “I get excited on the sideline, personally.”
Woods said the Missouri defense frustrated him in the first half, but halftime adjustments allowed the Cowboys to begin executing better.
Woods began playing better late in the first, leading the Cowboys on a touchdown drive in the final 59 seconds of the half. He completed passes of 28 and 12 to his older brother, D’Juan. The second was a fade pass to the right corner of the South end zone, which made the score 17-7.
“That let us know we could move the ball,” Donovan Woods said. “We didn’t have a lot of opportunities to do so because they ball controlled so well, and when we did have the ball, they did a good job against us.”
After that touchdown, the Cowboys were able to move the ball easily.
“We gave up a couple plays in the second half,” Tigers’ defensive end Xzavie Jackson said. “We weren’t stopping their runs, and they’re a running team.”
SMITH MOVES UP THE CHART:With his two touchdown passes, quarterback Brad Smith tied Jeff Handy, who played from 1991-94, for most touchdown passes in a career. They each have 39.
Smith also moved into 10th on the NCAA’s career rushing chart for quarterbacks, passing former Kansas State quarterback Ell Roberson. He gained 58 Saturday and has 2,845 for his career.
Antwann Randle El, who went to Indiana, holds the No. 1 mark on the list with 3,895 yards.
BOWLS REPRESENTED:Attending the game were representatives from the Alamo Bowl and Florida Citrus Sports, which hosts the Champs Sports Bowl, formerly the Tangerine Bowl.
This is the second straight home game that a Florida Citrus Sports representative attended. They also attended Missouri’s game at Texas last weekend.
Representatives of both bowls said they came to evaluate the Tigers’ fan base and environment. Both said although it’s too early in the season to have a good idea about what team might be in contention, they enjoyed their time at Missouri.
WINNING STREAK SNAPPED:The loss ends the Tigers’ nine-game home winning streak, which had become the second-longest streak in school history.
It began Sept. 13, 2003, with a 37-0 victory against Eastern Illinois.