Tigers trying to break Wildcats' hold

Not even Brad Smith could have saved the Tigers last season against Kansas State, with the Wildcats racking up a 38-0 win in Columbia to extend their winning streak against Missouri to 10 games. This season, though, there's a little more to play for, and the Tigers have set their sights on ending that nasty streak.

For Missouri cornerback Calvin Washington, Saturday's game against Kansas State is as simple as home economics and a third-grade lunch mentality.

"It's for all the cookies and everything," Washington said. "You got to be that bully that comes in and says, ‘I'm taking your cookies this time. We've worked hard enough, and your cookies look a lot better than ours.'"

What kind of cookies are they, Calvin?

"They got some nice bowl cookies," he said.

Lately, Kansas State has put a pretty tight lid on the cookie jar. In fact, Missouri hasn't beaten Kansas State since 1992, a 27-14 win in Columbia. And truth be told, most haven't even been close. Only two of the last 10 losses have been decided by less than 10 points, including a 66-0 drubbing in Manhattan in 1999.

"That's one of those games you don't forget about," said center A.J. Ricker, who was on the sidelines as a redshirt that year. "I've never come close to beating these guys."

As he did (or didn't do) against Nebraska, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said he won't focus on the history of the rivalry.

"It's the here and now," Pinkel said. "I wasn't responsible for all those years. I was responsible for two losses when we played Nebraska like I'm responsible for two losses at Kansas State."

But in the last two seasons, those losses have been even harder to bear.

In 2001, the Tigers went into Manhattan at 4-5, needing to win that game and a game at Michigan State for bowl eligibility. Instead, the game was one big, windy mess. In a game that included quarterback Kirk Farmer as the punter, the Wildcats dominated in a 24-3 win, and Missouri only scored in the final minutes.

In 2002, Missouri played the Wildcats in Columbia in the final game of the season. At 5-6, Missouri again needed the win for the chance at a bowl. Instead, Kansas State embarrassed the Tigers 38-0 at Memorial Stadium.

So two years in a row, Kansas State has taken away the possibility of a bowl from Missouri. The Wildcats can't take that away from Missouri this season, but there's more at stake: the division title. A Kansas State win would clinch the division. If Missouri wins, it would only have to beat Iowa State, which is winless in the conference, to win the North crown.

"We're going in there, trying to look to go more, trying to win a championship," Omboga said. "We're going to try to take something away from them this year."


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