Oklahoma looks to put clamps on Mizzou's Smith
NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma needed a touchdown on a fake field goal and a late interception to overcome Missouri quarterback Brad Smith's breakout performance last season.
As a redshirt freshman, Smith ran Oklahoma's vaunted defense ragged for four quarters, rolling up nearly 400 yards of offense and three touchdowns as Missouri came up just short of a huge upset in a 31-24 loss.
Watching film from that game has brought back some embarrassing memories for the top-ranked Sooners, who say they have a few things in store for the multitalented quarterback Saturday.
"It's a hopeless feeling as a defensive coach when a guy gets going like that," Oklahoma co-defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. "I don't think we were as prepared for the quarterback run game as we should have been last year and it hurt us.
"Now we can take a lot of things away from people. We're playing better and our defensive line is more athletic than a year ago. We're constantly creating pressure."
The Tigers-Sooners matchup is one of four involving a pair of ranked teams. The other three are in the Big Ten with No. 9 Iowa at No. 8 Ohio State, No. 13 Purdue at No. 14 Wisconsin and No. 15 Michigan State at No. 25 Minnesota.
In other games involving ranked teams, No. 2 Miami hosts Temple, No. 4 Georgia visits Vanderbilt, No. 5 Southern California travels to Notre Dame, No. 6 Washington State is at Stanford, No. 7 Florida State visits Virginia, No. 10 LSU plays at South Carolina, No. 11 Arkansas hosts Florida, No. 12 Northern Illinois hosts Western Michigan, No. 16 TCU plays at home against UAB, No. 17 Michigan hosts Illinois, No. 18 Nebraska hosts Texas A&M, No. 19 Auburn plays Mississippi State, No. 20 Texas visits Iowa State, No. 22 Oregon State hosts Washington, and No. 23 Oklahoma State hosts Texas Tech.
Oklahoma's defense has been overwhelming opponents with its relentless speed, generating a pass rush that has created the nation's leading pass efficiency defense. The Sooners have 10 sacks and forced 12 turnovers in consecutive blowouts of Iowa State and Texas.
And to Missouri coach Gary Pinkel's dismay, it looks as if Oklahoma (6-0, 2-0 Big 12) is getting better.
"The reality of them and how good they are hits you real fast," Pinkel said. "It doesn't take look long to look at the film and say, wow, I'd rather be playing the Atlanta Falcons right now."
But Pinkel has to feel a little better about his chances now, since Smith broke out of a slump in Missouri's 41-24 upset of Nebraska last week.
Smith tied a school record with four touchdowns and had 350 yards of offense against what was then the nation's top-ranked defense. The win vaulted Missouri (5-1, 1-1) back into the Top 25 and was a reminder to Oklahoma of how devastating Smith can be when given time to operate.
"He can almost win a game single-handedly," Oklahoma defensive end Jonathan Jackson said. "We were upset after last year's game. It's in the back of everyone's mind what he did to us."
Then again, Smith might not even be the best quarterback in Saturday's game.
Oklahoma's Jason White leads the nation in passing efficiency, has guided the Sooners to a school-record four straight games of more than 50 points and has emerged as a serious contender for the Heisman Trophy.
In last week's 65-13 dismantling of rival Texas, White went 17-of-21 for 290 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions against the country's top-rated pass defense.
And he made it look easy. For much of the second half, White was on the sidelines with his helmet off, kidding around with teammates as the Sooners' reserves finished off the rout.
White is no laughing matter to the No. 24 Tigers, though.
"It's fun to watch a guy like that," Pinkel said, "as long as we're not playing him."
In highlights of other games: ^No. 13 Purdue at No. 14 Wisconsin<
"Those other backs have done an excellent job, but you're talking about an elite player in Anthony and a guy that can hit a home run for you," Alvarez said.
Davis, the nation's leading rusher over the past two seasons combined, has been sidelined with an injured ankle.
During that time, Stanley and Smith took turns making sure the Badgers didn't miss him too much. Although Davis leads the Badgers with 466 yards rushing, Smith has 460 and Stanley has 454.
Purdue has won five straight after losing to Bowling Green.<
No. 9 Iowa at No. 8 Ohio State<
The defending national champion Buckeyes try to rebound from their first loss of the season when they host the Hawkeyes. The two teams are finally meeting after tying for first in the Big Ten last year at 8-0.
Ohio State is searching for its offense, which is ranked 109th in total offense of 117 Division I-A teams.
"We're trying to find out what it is that we're best suited for from the personnel we have playing," coach Jim Tressel said.
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index
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