AMES, Iowa – Marcus Woods began the season with comparisons to Kansas State’s diminutive star back Darren Sproles and Hall-of-Fame back Barry Sanders.
Entering Missouri’s final game, it appeared his redshirt freshman season would end as a major disappointment. Woods had gained only 347 yards in 10 games and in the Tigers’ home finale, he finished with one carry for 3 yards.
But Woods finally showed a glimpse of elusiveness expected of him in Missouri’s 17-14 overtime upset win against Iowa State.
He finished the game with a career-high 17 carries for 81 yards. He also scored his second touchdown on the season. Previously, Woods’ career bests were 16 carries against Texas and 68 yards against Kansas State.
“We just got into a rhythm today as an offense, I got into a rhythm and offensive line did a good job blocking,” Woods said. “I read the holes well, try to make people miss in the hole and that was it.”
The Tigers’ needed everything Woods provided to defeat the Cyclones, who entered the game with Big 12 Conference championship hopes, as starting running back Damien Nash struggled with a sore left hand.
Although Nash’s hand has been in a cast since before the Kansas game, this week his thumb was also bandaged . He said it affected his ability to hold onto the football, but it was just a case of Woods playing a great game. Nash finished the game with only26 yards on 12 carries.
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said the effectiveness of Woods and the lack of production from Nash was key to Woods getting so many touches.
“I thought he did a great job,” Pinkel said. “He really played hard and we leaned on him a little bit because he was playing so well.”
DAZZLING SMITH: After slicing through defenses for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons and 12 100-yard rushing days, Brad Smith found his first 100-yard game as a junior in the final game of Missouri’s season. Smith gained 101 yards against Iowa State to finish with 553 yards in his disappointing junior season.
MILLER TIME: Iowa State’s Todd Miller, senior wide receiver, set career highs with 6 catches for 80 yards. Entering the game, Miller had only 156 yards on the season on 22 catches. Miller’s previous career highs were five catches for 51 yards against Northern Iowa in the season opener.
SACK DADDY SMITH: Sophomore defensive end Brian Smith sacked Brett Meyer in the first quarter for his conference-best seventh sack.
OVERTIME SUCCESS: Missouri improved to 7-3 in overtime since 1996, when the overtime rule went into effect, with the victory. The Tigers’ 10 overtime contests are the most overtime appearances of any Division I team. Iowa State, however, fell to 0-2 in such games. Their other loss came against Wyoming on Sept. 7, 1996.