Colorado focuses game plan on Brad Smith

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 8:24 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Tigers (5-3 overall, 3-2 Big 12) play at Colorado at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Boulder, Colo., with the Big 12 North Division lead on the line.

Colorado’s seniors called a team meeting Monday to start fixing what went wrong in a 23-20 victory at Kansas State in time to face the Tigers.

The 25th-ranked Buffaloes (6-2, 4-1) can take a two-game lead in the North with a win against Missouri, but the Tigers can pull even with Colorado with a win and put themselves in control of the division because of the tiebreaker.

“I think we’ve all known all along that this was going to be a big game from the get-go,” Colorado coach Gary Barnett said Monday on the Big 12 coaches conference call. “We’re well aware of what this game means.”

Barnett said the key for the Buffaloes will be stopping Tigers quarterback Brad Smith, the Big 12’s leading rusher with 112.9 yards per game. Smith was held to a season-low 38 yards at Kansas. His previous low of 39 yards came two weeks earlier in a 27-24 overtime win against Iowa State.

But Barnett said Iowa State and Kansas used different defenses, and there is no script to containing Smith.

“There was no scheme in either one of those two games that was the difference in the game,” Barnett said. “What happened was people tackled. They didn’t let him get out and break a long play. They made tackles, they made plays. That’s what it comes down to.

Barnett said he considers Smith one of the top college football players in the country, and he thinks Missouri, his alma mater, is using him the right way.

“With what they’re doing right now with no huddle, 95-plus plays a game. They’re doing just what they should do,” Barnett said.

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