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Wildcats do everything but contend for Big 12 title

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Kansas State finished the regular season
looking like it belonged among the Big 12's best, even if the
Wildcats won't make it to the championship game.

Darren Sproles ran for 116 yards and a 12-yard touchdown,
setting two school records in the process, and No. 10 Kansas State
dominated defensively in a 38-0 victory over Missouri on Saturday.

"Everything just falls into place on Saturdays,'' offensive
tackle Nick Leckey said. "We've made the right adjustments; we'll
make the right pass. Everyone just comes out ready to play.''

The Wildcats (10-2, 6-2 Big 12) reached 10 victories for the
seventh time in school history, including five of the last six
years. The Wildcats are not in contention for the Big 12 title
because of midseason losses to Colorado and Texas -- by a total of
seven points.

Since losing 17-14 to Texas on Oct. 19, Kansas State has
outscored its last five opponents 253-30. The Wildcats have beaten
Missouri (5-7, 2-6) 10 straight times, outscoring the Tigers
345-112.

"I think we are playing very well,'' coach Bill Snyder said.
"Whether it's better than any others, I couldn't tell you that at
this time.''

Missouri has lost 44 in a row to Top 10 teams, dating to 1981.
The Tigers had been coming off their biggest victory of the season,
beating Texas A&M in double overtime, and hadn't been shut out by
Kansas State at home since 1955.

The Wildcats allowed Missouri only three points over the last
two games; they won 24-3 last year in Manhattan, Kan.

"It's a sour loss, very sour,'' Missouri defensive tackle Keith
Wright said. "It's more sour because last year the game was very
similar.''

Kansas State got two second-half touchdown catches from Taco
Wallace and had a season high for total yards for the second
straight week, outgaining Missouri 553-191. The Wildcats produced
their third shutout of the year and didn't allow the Tigers past
midfield until the fourth quarter.

Missouri needed a victory to become bowl-eligible for the first
time in four years.

"They won a lot of physical battles up front,'' said Missouri
running back Zack Abron, who was held to 7 yards on nine carries.
"It was rough.''

Sproles, who had 25 carries, has eight straight 100-yard games
and nine for the year to extend his school record. He has 1,347
yards to break the mark of 1,263, set by Josh Scobey last year.
Sproles also set the school record for all-purpose yards with
1,656, topping the previous mark of 1,648, set by Henry Hawthorne
in 1970.

"They were doing all kinds of stunts and stuff,'' Sproles said.
"That made the holes wider.''

Missouri quarterback Brad Smith, a redshirt freshman, became the
second player in NCAA history to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for
1,000 in a season. Smith entered the game needing 1 yard rushing to
join Clemson's Woody Dantzler, who did it last year, and Smith got
to the milestone with a 3-yard carry late in the first quarter.

But he didn't get much more, finishing with 30 yards on 13
carries and going 7-for-24 for 126 yards with an interception.
Fifty-six of the passing yards came on a flea-flicker to Justin
Gage to the Kansas State 15 early in the fourth, but Missouri was
pushed back by a penalty and ran out of downs.

"This was certainly a learning experience for him,'' coach Gary
Pinkel said. "He's going to grow from it. It's very frustrating
for a quarterback to go out play after play and struggle, but I
wasn't going to pull him out.''

Kansas State led 17-0 at the half but missed a chance for more
when Roberson lost a fumble on fourth-and-1 from the Missouri 9 to
turn it over with 56 seconds to go. Joe Rheem, who made a 32-yard
field goal in the first quarter, also missed a 37-yarder in the
second.

Terence Newman got the Wildcats off to a fast start with a
71-yard punt return, his second of the season, with 14:16 to go in
the first quarter. Sproles' 12-yard run with 4:03 to go in the
second made it 17-0.

Ayo Saba had a 3-yard run and Wallace caught a 23-yard pass from
Roberson for a 31-0 third-quarter lead, and Wallace caught a
46-yarder from Marc Dunn in the fourth quarter.

Newman, a cornerback, also helped shut down Missouri wide
receiver Justin Gage. Gage was held to two catches for 56 yards.

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