Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pass-Happy Teams Often Turns Their Coaches Blue

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pass-Happy Teams Often Turns Their Coaches Blue

Article excerpt

It's really not because two things can go wrong when a team passes - an incompletion or an interception. But the truth is, winning teams run the football.

As Missouri prepares for homecoming opponent Oklahoma State, coach Bob Stull and Co. must wince over this fact: Southern Methodist, which tied the Tigers 10-10 two weeks ago, last Saturday was run out of its own park in Dallas by a Baylor team that didn't throw a pass.

Baylor's decision was based, in part, on quarterback J.J. Joe's sore throwing arm. But the Bears' ability to stuff the cowhide down the throats of SMU 31-12 must be embarrassing to Ol' Mizzou.

In Division I-A, no team had gone an entire game without throwing the ball since Oklahoma ran its way to a 28-0 victory atColorado seven years ago. But a guy can remember when the Tigers went a long way with limited use of the pass.

The mind's eye goes back to a luncheon scenario at Stan Musial's former Miami Beach hotel the noon after an Orange Bowl game in which Dan Devine's best team, the 1969 Tigers, had failed to break Penn State's 30-game winning streak.

Although experiencing nine turnovers - seven on interceptions - MU lost by only a touchdown, 10-3, impressing Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno.

Devine, softly second-guessing himself to Musial and a couple of other guys, suggested that if the Tigers had stuck to their ground-gaining basics against the Nittany Lions, place-kicker Henry Brown might have had a shot at four field goals, not one.

Dan'l sighed: "I can remember winning one bowl game (the 1962 Bluebonnet over Georgia Tech 14-10) by throwing just two passes that were incomplete and winning another (the '68, Gator Bowl over Alabama 35-10) by throwing just two passes - and completing them to the other side!"

Softly, Devine added, "I can't remember ever losing because we threw too little."

In a season of in which MU has had little success on the ground, the Tigers now face a foe that proudly calls itself Tailback U. Oklahoma State has had some dandy ballcarriers, from Bob Fenimore at the end of World War II until, more recently, Terry Miller, Thurman Thomas and Heisman Trophy winner Barry Sanders. …

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