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Archive for Saturday, November 1, 2008

Tigers focused on Baylor

November 1, 2008

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— Dreams of a national championship dashed by consecutive losses, the Missouri Tigers have narrowed their focus.

While the Big 12 North title and a return to the league's championship game remain a very distinct possibility for the 14th-ranked Tigers, even that is more broad than coach Gary Pinkel wants his team to consider.

After losses to top-ranked Texas and No. 9 Oklahoma State, Pinkel challenged his team to hone in on the week at hand and not the long-range possibilities. The Tigers (6-2, 2-2 Big 12) responded with their biggest conference shutout ever, and first in the Big 12, 58-0 over Colorado after being held to 54 points combined in their losses.

This week, the focus is on a trip to Baylor (3-5, 1-3), where Mizzou is a nearly three-touchdown favorite today.

"It wasn't a gimmick. It was probably my frustration," Pinkel said of the "sole focus" challenge to his team after the 56-31 loss at Texas two weeks ago.

"My concern was that they would lose focus. We had to put an abrupt stop to that. So we took it very, very seriously," he said. "We're going to try and do the same thing this week."

With their huge rebound victory, Chase Daniel and the Tigers start November tied for the North lead with Nebraska and Kansas - their 2-2 mark would put them fifth in the South. Missouri has already beaten the Cornhuskers and plays its regular-season finale against the Jayhawks, after two more games in which the Tigers should also be favored to win.

But, first comes Baylor.

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