Five keys to the Big 12 title game

Friday, November 30, 2007 | 1:28 a.m. CST; updated 12:21 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

5. Cut the cute stuff

For those who took a gander at the last meeting between these two teams, you might have been slightly confused when you saw Jeremy Maclin throw a pass. The pass was intercepted, setting up an Oklahoma touchdown and leaving those watching the game on Tigers’ behalf scratching their heads. The Missouri offense has toned down on some of their trick plays since the game and they have won every game since. It is going to be important for the Tigers to use restraint and stick with what got them to this point: Receivers have no business throwing the ball.

4. Gotta get/keep the ball

The Tigers caught an early break in the last meeting with Oklahoma when Sooners receiver Juaquin Iglesias fumbled the ball on a kickoff. On the same token, the Tigers managed to turn the ball over three times against the Sooners. A dropped handoff from Chase Daniel to Jeremy Maclin was returned for a touchdown by OU, and the Sooners didn’t look back. The Tigers have been able to overcome mistakes and turnovers in most every game this season but they would be well served to just not turn the ball over to a Sooner team that knows how to make teams pay for mistakes.

3. Run it in the red zone

Coming into the Oklahoma game, MU had a grand total of three rushing touchdowns on the season. They equaled that in one game with two Jeremy Maclin runs and one from backup Jimmy Jackson. It will be important for the Tigers to establish some running attack inside the 20-yard line in order to set up their passing game. The more balance this team can have, the less comfortable the OU defense can be when the Tigers have the ball. The Tigers have at least one rushing touchdown in every game since then. So it is important to keep that trend going.

2. Stand strong

The Sooners were able to control the clock and keep the Tiger offense at bay with a consistent running attack. While the Tigers got two running scores from Maclin, the Sooners established a more traditional running effort, featuring backup Chris Brown, who rushed for three OU touchdowns. The Sooners averaged 3.6 yards per carry against MU. That’s not a lot until you pair it with their 11.1 yards per pass completion, making the run set the pass up well. One of those numbers is going to have to lessen for the Tigers to have a chance.

1. Temple has to touch

One thing that really hampered the Tiger offense was the lack of a consistent running threat. Senior running back Tony Temple injured his ankle the week before the Oct. 13 OU game, allowing the Sooners to bring more pressure on Chase Daniel. Backups Jimmy Jackson and Derrick Washington performed admirably in Temple’s absence but still only managed 57 yards on the ground. With Temple back, who averaged nearly 100 yards in his past three games, the pressure on Daniel should diminish. But Temple has to have his touches.

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Monty Fox November 30, 2007 | 5:19 p.m.

I completely agree. I was reading a blog ( that basically said something very few people are saying, that the Tigers can win. Plus, that they belong in the National Championship Game. They definitely beat the overrated Sooners.

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