And the Tigers, after allowing Cedric Benson 150 yards rushing in a 28-20 loss at Texas, take on another outstanding rusher in the Cowboys' Vernand Morency.
From the Cowboys' perspective, there are adjustments aplenty to make after McNeal had his way carving the OSU defense both through the air and on the ground.
"There's some direction to assignment and technique, some direction to doing things a little differently," said OSU coach Les Miles, careful not to give Smith and the Tigers many pointers. "There has to be an adjustment made, based on what happened (against Texas A&M)."
The challenge issued to the Oklahoma State defenders is, essentially, to make more plays. If anything, the Cowboys looked as if they were resting on the laurels of their 5-0 start, allowing the Aggies to take control. Many of those Aggies, including McNeal, were on the field a year ago when Oklahoma State triumphed 38-10 in College Station.
"A&M is a real good football team, no doubt," said Oklahoma State cornerbacks coach Joe DeForest. "But so are we. It didn't look like it, but we are. We'll bounce back."
SCOUTING THE OSU OFFENSE: The Cowboys had not lost a fumble all season before handing the ball twice to Texas A&M, turnovers that contributed to an early hole OSU couldn't overcome in a 36-20 defeat. Eventually the Cowboys moved the ball, producing 384 total yards and 24 first downs, but were hurt by the turnovers, as well as some untimely penalties.
SCOUTING THE COWBOY DEFENSE: OSU will be playing without cornerback Darrent Williams (broken arm) and defensive end Nathan Peterson (torn ACL). Oklahoma State failed to produce a turnover for the first time this season and it proved costly in the loss to Texas A&M. It's important for the OSU defense to regain the same mentality that led to 17 takeaways during a 5-0 start.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "When I looked at the tape Sunday morning I felt better than I did after (the Texas A&M loss). If I'd known that, I'd watched the tape Saturday night so I would have slept better. We stopped ourselves." -- Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Gundy.
AGAINST MISSOURI: The Cowboys are going for a sweep of its non-divisional games, something the Cowboys have never accomplished. Since the Big 12's inception in 1996, they stand 9-15 against North Division opponents. Still, times are changing at Oklahoma State. The Cowboys have already won a pair of road games, at UCLA and Colorado, but Missouri owns a nine-game winning streak at Faurot Field.
COWBOYS TO WATCH: QB Donovan Woods -- He made some more strides in the loss to Texas A&M, completing 15 of 26 passes for 202 yards, with no interceptions. However, the Cowboys still don't completely trust their quarterback. Trailing 36-6 and in need of a quick strike, they stuck to the ground for an 89-yard drive that required 15 plays and 6:06 to complete midway through the third period.
S Jamie Thompson -- Posted a career-high 12 tackles against Texas A&M, including 11 solo stops. Thompson leads the Cowboys with 40 tackles and has two sacks, two deflections and an interception.
TB Vernand Morency -- Needs just 20 yards to gain 1,000, a milestone achieved 14 other times in OSU history by nine different backs. He's coming off a 111-yard game against Texas A&M, the eighth consecutive regular-season contest in which Morency posted 100 yards.
ROSTER REPORT: DT Brad Girtman, who has not played in recent weeks because of disciplinary reasons, is expected to make the trip to Missouri, and could see his first action since the season-opening victory over UCLA.
Cowboys Look to Return<br>To Their Winning Ways
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