The Norman Transcript

Local Sports

January 2, 2014

Tall order for OSU’s D

IRVING, Texas — The Oklahoma State defense may face it’s toughest test in its final game of the season with a Missouri team that is ranked third in the Southeastern Conference in scoring offense with 39 points per game.

What makes the Tigers a dangerous offense is their balanced attack, especially since the return of quarterback James Franklin, who missed three games with an injury. Mizzou ranks in the top five of the SEC in both the run and pass — second in rushing offense with 236.5 yards per game and fifth in passing offense with 256.5 yards.

“It’s hard because you watch them on film with what they’ve done against supposedly better teams in the nation (in the SEC) and better defenses in the nation, week-in and week-out they are able to move the ball on them,” Cowboy defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said. “You can’t find a weakness because they are so balanced.”

But it’s not just one player in either aspect that OSU will be able to lock in on.

Missouri has three running backs with more than 500 yards on the season — not to mention Franklin with nearly 500 yards rushing himself.

Henry Josey leads the pace with 1,074 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns, followed by Russell Hansbrough with 660 and four touchdowns, and Marcus Murphy with 571 with nine touchdowns. All three of the Mizzou running backs are averaging more than six yards per rush attempt.

“As a defensive coordinator, you go in wanting to stop the run game first,” Spencer said. “With Josey, and even his backups, they are all explosive backs. And then you get a running quarterback involved and it gives them an extra number, so they have that element, too.”

The Tigers are equally generous in the pass attack with three receivers over 600 yards receiving and two others with at least 200 yards receiving.

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