7:00 PM ET, October 5, 2002
Faurot Field, COLUMBIA, MO
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Oklahoma can now look forward to playing Texas, although it may be a while before the Sooners shake the memory of Brad Smith.
Oklahoma running back Kejuan Jones leaps for the touchdown Saturday.
Smith, Missouri's redshirt freshman quarterback, had the third-ranked Sooners on the run all game long. Oklahoma needed a touchdown on a fake field goal with 6:33 left to escape with a 31-24 victory Saturday night.
Smith carried 26 times for 213 yards -- a record for Missouri quarterbacks -- and two touchdowns. He also threw for 178 yards and a score, accounting for 391 of the Tigers' 449 yards.
"Brad Smith, just an incredible performance,'' Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "He really was exceptional in his play and what he did tonight. As a team and as a head coach, I feel very fortunate -- lucky -- to have been able to have fought through this and won.''
The winning touchdown was a stunner. Holder Matt McCoy took the snap, waited a moment, then threw a perfect lob to freshman tight end Chris Chester, who went up and caught the ball between two defenders for his first career reception. Nate Hybl's 2-point conversion pass to Curtis Fagan made it 31-24.
"Matt gave me a good ball I could catch, a good jump ball, and I went up and got it,'' Chester said. "You prepare for situations like this. I'm not one of our marquee players, but you always prepare. Anything can happen.''
Stoops said he liked his chances of the fake working better than the chances of Trey DiCarlo making a 31-yard field goal. DiCarlo had already missed an extra point and field goals of 34 and 43 yards.
"I felt the percentages were pretty good it was going to be OK,'' said the coach, whose team plays the second-ranked Longhorns next week in Dallas.
The touchdown was set up by Brandon Everage's interception, which gave Oklahoma (5-0, 1-0 Big 12) the ball at the 16. It was one of three interceptions thrown by Smith.
He threw another on Missouri's next drive, but the Sooners went nowhere and punted. The Tigers (3-2, 0-1) took over at their 23 with 1:39 left and drove to the Oklahoma 35, but Smith was sacked on fourth down with 5 seconds remaining.
"When you get a chance to win a football game, a close game, you can't turn the football over. You can't give up big plays,'' coach Gary Pinkel said. "There are a lot of things we did that you can't do to win a game like this.''
Oklahoma scored twice in under 3 minutes in the third quarter to seemingly take control. Fagan took a short pass from Hybl, broke a tackle and outran two defenders for a 65-yard touchdown. Then Quentin Griffin scored on a 53-yard run, slipping away from a tackle behind the line before bouncing outside and getting down the boundary.
The extra point failed, making the score 23-7.
That's when Missouri got going, scoring on its next three possessions to take the lead.
Justin Gage caught a slant pass and took it 23 yards for a touchdown to cap an 87-yard drive, and later in the third, Michael Matheny kicked a 38-yard field goal.
Five minutes into the fourth quarter, Smith scored on a 25-yard run to put the Tigers in front 24-23. He began the drive with a 37-yard scramble, added a 12-yard completion on a third-down play, then scored on another third down.
Gage finished with nine catches for 122 yards. His first reception made him Missouri's career receiving leader, moving him past Kenny Holly, who had 151 catches.
The Sooners dominated the first quarter, outgaining Missouri 152-36 and keeping Smith in check, but Oklahoma managed just a 7-0 lead. The touchdown came on a 2-yard run by Kejuan Jones, one play after Hybl threw a 34-yard completion to Antwone Savage on third-and-inches from the 36.
It was 10-0 when Missouri scored late in the half on a 25-yard keeper by Smith on a third-and-7 play. He had kept the drive alive three plays earlier with a 15-yard run on third-and-3.