No. 15 (BCS and Associated Press) Missouri travels to Ames, Iowa this week for a Big 12 matchup against the Iowa State Cyclones Saturday at 6 p.m. CST.
The Tigers are coming off a much-needed win against Kansas State in Columbia on their Senior Day after losing consecutive games to Nebraska and Texas Tech.
The emotional boost from the Tigers' Senior Day appeared to help, as Mizzou came out focused and defeated the Wildcats, 38-28 to improve their record to 8-2 overall, 4-2 in the Big 12.
Junior quarterback Blaine Gabbert ran offensive coordinator David Yost's balanced attack while throwing for 208 yards and rushing for another 89 yards. For the first time in three weeks, the Tigers offense looked like a true spread offense.
Gabbert's ability to run seems to be what was lacking in Missouri's offense, as Kansas State could never get settled defensively.
Mizzou's defense played with emotion as well, forcing four turnovers on the normally sure-handed Wildcats.
The Tigers were able to convert two of the turnovers into 10 points. Defensive end Jacquies Smith benefited from a Kansas State fumble, returning the loose ball for a 53-yard Mizzou touchdown (the fumble was caused by DE Aldon Smith's hit on KSU QB Carson Coffman, younger brother of former MU standout Chase Coffman).
Missouri will need to bring this same intensity to Ames this Saturday in order to keep any "major" bowl aspirations alive.
The Iowa State Cyclones (5-6, 3-4) have lost star quarterback Austen Arnaud to injury. Arnaud's collegiate career is officially over, as he will undergo total knee reconstruction.
Arnaud is Iowa State's all-time leader in completion percentage, having hit on 59.7 percent of his passes (616-for-1,031). He is second in Cyclone history with 6,777 passing yards, 42 touchdown passes and 8,044 yards of total offense.
This is a huge loss for the Cyclones and a tough break for a very good college athlete. As much as I am pulling for Mizzou, I was hoping to beat the Cyclones with their best player on the field. Here's wishing Arnaud a speedy and full recovery.