Archive for Saturday, October 23, 2004

Tigers still smarting from loss to Longhorns

October 23, 2004


— Coach Gary Pinkel is not one for moral victories, so he found little comfort in Missouri's narrow 28-20 loss to No. 8 Texas.

The Tigers (4-2 overall, 2-1 Big 12 Conference) had a chance at the end with the ball at their 34 with 3:10 to go, needing a touchdown and two-point conversion to tie the game. But the offense faltered, turning the ball over after six plays.

Pinkel was satisfied with his team's effort, but not the result.

"I thought we did OK against one of the best teams in the country," he said. "I'm certainly real disappointed. When you have a game like that, you want to win."

Moving on from such a loss often takes time, though Missouri has little to spare. No. 21 Oklahoma State (5-1, 2-1) visits today, but the Texas loss will linger.

"I won't be over it until we win again," wide receiver Thomson Omboga said. "I'm still down on it. I know we played a great, physical game with them. We still feel we're the better team; we just made a couple mistakes that cost us the game."

Those mistakes included two Brad Smith interceptions that led to 14 Texas points. Although the Tigers outperformed the Longhorns in most statistical categories, they could not find a way to win.

"I don't think anybody can say that they're more physical than us in the Big 12," tailback Damien Nash said. "To go out there and compete like we did and not come out on top was disappointing because we knew we could win the physical battle."

Missouri has lost its past 11 road games against ranked opponents, the last victory coming in 1998, a 28-26 win at No. 18 Texas Tech.

The loss to Texas was particularly difficult for Omboga, one of 23 Texans on the Missouri roster.

"It's not going to be a priority in my life, but it's going to be in the back of my head that we blew an opportunity to defeat them," said Omboga, a Grand Prairie, Texas, native.

The loss will remind the Tigers of what it takes to beat top-notch opponents.

"A loss is a loss, whether you lose by three or 53," Omboga said. "We know that we're going to have to get more mentally prepared for games and just go out there and play to our capabilities."

With Oklahoma State looming, the Tigers face another difficult task, this time at home. Although the Texas loss could have provided it, Nash said he won't need any extra motivation against the Cowboys.

"I'm always fired up when you get to play a top team," Nash said. "As long as you're at the top, I want to knock you off."

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