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Tigers talking national title

There is a sense of urgency in the Missouri wrestling room.

In his sixth year, Brian Smith is hoping to coach the Tigers to their first national championship. Six upperclassmen are ranked in the top 15 in their weight class.

Four of them are seniors beginning their final chance.

Playing means sacrifices for two Cougars

It is half an hour after volleyball practice and Columbia College’s Southwell Arena is quiet. It will be a different building in 24 hours when fans crowd in to watch the Cougars open the NAIA Region V Tournament.

For now, though, all of the blue plastic seats that surround the court are folded back. There is no music blaring from the speaker system. It is quiet.

Tigers aim for sweet victory

For the past two seasons, Kansas State has been the playground bully that took Missouri’s lunch money, its lunch and just about everything else. The Tigers were on the brink of bowl eligibility each of the past two seasons when the Wildcats came calling and snatched away Missouri’s bowl hopes, including a 38-0 thumping in Columbia to end the Tigers’ 2002 season.

This time, more is at stake. Both teams have locked up bowl berths and are playing for a spot in the Big 12 Conference championship game.

Clark new Mavericks mentor

The Mid-Missouri Mavericks are the newest chapter in Jack Clark’s baseball odyssey.

The organization introduced Clark as its manager in a press conference Thursday.

Special teams becoming Kewps’ force

A chart labeled “Special Forces” that maps the play of the Hickman Kewpies’ special teams is posted inside the coaches’ trailer.

The chart lists goals for each game, which include winning the field position game, blocking punts or forcing turnovers and converting all extra-point attempts.

Ultimately, the Kewpies hope reaching these goals on special teams will lead to an upset against the No. 1 Blue Springs Wildcats.

Cougars to face defending champions

For the first time in school history, Columbia College’s soccer team is playing in the NAIA national tournament. In order to keep dreams of a title alive, though, the Cougars must defeat the defending national champions.

The 10th-seeded Cougars play seventh seed University of Mobile (Ala.) at 5 p.m. today at the Olathe District Activity Center Soccer Complex in Olathe, Kan.

Tigers' success depends on health

The phrase “national championship” buzzed around the Missouri men’s basketball team locker room Tuesday night after the Tigers’ 74-60 win against the Asheville Altitude of the National Basketball Developmental League.

With their second exhibition win, the Tigers have their sights set on regular-season success. If the Tigers have any chance of making their first Final Four in 21 NCAA Tournament appearances, they must stay healthy.

Coaches’ revamps working

It wasn’t so long ago that Bill Snyder was in the same position as Gary Pinkel.

Both coaches started at their current jobs with designs on rebuilding programs. The coaches will be in the same position again Saturday, except this time there is no rebuilding to do, only a championship on the line.

The big 20

1 What is the key to Missouri’s season?

Getting off to a good start is vital for the Tigers. Last year, they stumbled early, going 6-5 against nonconference opponents. Despite going 9-7 in the Big 12 Conference, disappointing losses to Austin Peay, Southern Methodist and University of Louisiana-Lafayette early in the year played a big part in keeping the Tigers out of the NCAA Tournament. With the grueling Big 12 schedule looming in the second half of the season, Missouri must get off to a better start in its first 11 games.

Kewpies prepare for Dean

With a former quarterback as the coach, it’s no surprise Blue Springs has one of the top quarterbacks in the state.

Senior Stinson Dean and the Wildcats (11-0) play Hickman at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Hickman in the Class 6 semifinals. The winner advances to the final against the Lindbergh-Hazelwood Central winner Nov. 28 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

Boyd bolsters Missouri’s attack

The more she plays, the more confident Lisa Boyd, a sophomore reserve for Missouri, becomes.

Boyd started Wednesday in Missouri’s 30-9, 30-19, 30-16 victory against Iowa State at Hearnes Center and gained a new career high in kills.

Defense bails out MU

For the second straight exhibition game, Missouri’s shots weren’t falling early, but for the second straight time it didn’t matter thanks to the defense.

Despite allowing the Asheville Altitude to score on seven of its first eight shots, the Tigers’ defense came to life and paved the way for a 74-60 win Tuesday night at Hearnes Center.

Returners turning it on before MU drives

Marcus James and Shirdonya Mitchell don’t know who will break one first.

James and Mitchell, Missouri’s kick returners, have a preference on who will be the first Tiger this season to return a kick for a touchdown, though.

Godoi’s play, mouth talking

Juliana Godoi is loud.

“I am vocal,” Godoi said. “I am always talking to the girls, telling them they are doing good and what to do next.”

Offensive line sparks Kewpies

They might not elude defenders en route to the end zone. They might not intercept passes or throw touchdown passes.

They will, though, determine the success of the Hickman Kewpies in the playoffs.

Debut dud for Laurie

Spencer Laurie made his Missouri debut Tuesday in the Tigers’ exhibition win against the Asheville Altitude. It was a memorable evening for the Springfield, Mo., native, but not for all the right reasons.

Missouri coach Quin Snyder considered redshirting Laurie, a freshman point guard, but that became improbable when junior Randy Pulley was declared ineligible last week. Until his junior college transfer credits are resolved, Pulley is ineligible indefinitely. Pulling Laurie’s redshirt is an indication that the coaching staff might not expect Pulley back soon.

Tigers find room to run

On any given play, chances are more than favorable that Missouri will run the ball.

The Tigers gain 235 rushing yards per game, No. 6 in the country. Their pass offense is No. 95, averaging 174 yards.

Symons closing on record

Despite the hype around running quarterbacks in the Big 12 Conference, a passing quarterback will likely make history Saturday.

Texas Tech quarterback B.J. Symons is poised to fly past the NCAA record for passing yards in a season, and he will probably do it in the first half Saturday against No. 1 Oklahoma.

Tigers take on Altitude tonight

The No. 5 Missouri men’s basketball team plays its second and final exhibition game against the Asheville Altitude of the NBA’s developmental league at 7 tonight at Hearnes Center.

The Altitude roster primarily consists of players who have recently left college but did not progress to the NBA. Lavor Postell, of St. John’s University, was a second-round draft pick of the New York Knicks in 2000. He played sparingly during the next three seasons, but after the Utah Jazz cut him before the start of this season, Asheville drafted him third in the 2003 NBDL draft.

Wildcats playing big role in Tigers’ future

Sometime Saturday evening, the Missouri football team’s best friend suddenly became its worst enemy.

As soon as the Tigers (7-3, 3-3 Big 12 Conference) were done cheering the Kansas State Wildcats to victory against Nebraska, they had to get ready to play those Wildcats in the biggest game Missouri football has seen in a long time.

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