Fourth quarter, up by two, undefeated season hanging in the balance.
Michael Bishop time.
"I didn't give him the ball and say `Win the game,'" Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said. "I said, `Do what you do.'"
The Wildcats' national championship hopes are barely alive, thanks to Bishop. The senior quarterback took control on a key fourth-quarter drive, setting up a clinching touchdown that gave the No. 2 Wildcats a 31-25 victory over No. 19 Missouri on Saturday.
Bishop passed for one touchdown and ran for another as Kansas State (11-0, 8-0) completed the first undefeated regular season in school history before a sellout crowd of 68,174 that left Faurot Field so jam-packed some fans watched the video board with their backs to the field just to see the action.
"He carried their team and that's about what he's done all year," Missouri linebacker Barry Odom said. "Why change now, when something is going good?"
Leading 24-22, Kansas State pinned Missouri at its 3 with a punt and then took over at the Tigers' 38 with 12:05 to go. Bishop ran for 35 of the yards on four carries before handing the ball at the 1 to Frank Murphy, who fumbled into the end zone and then scrambled to make the recovery with 8:28 to play.
| Corby Jones and the Tigers couldn't outrun Darren Howard and the Wildcats. (AP) |
Bishop ran for 104 yards on 23 carries and was 13-for-26 for 157 yards. The key play in the key drive was a 12-yard scramble on third down to the 3. Kansas State had called for a pass, but Bishop noticed the Missouri defensive backfield was playing soft and, as he frequently oes, took off.
"We had to play our hearts out," Bishop said. "The type of players we have, we feel like we can pull anything out."
The Wildcats will carry a 19-game winning streak into the Big 12 championship game against Texas A&M on Dec. 5 in St. Louis. Entering the game, they were third in the Bowl Championship Series standings behind Tennessee and UCLA.
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder has won 77 games in 10 seasons, equaling the school total for the 30 years prior to his arrival. But the Wildcats, who outscored their first 10 opponents by an average of 51-10, were far from dominating Saturday.
"I can't tell you whether we're the No. 1 team in the nation or the No. 2 team," Snyder said. "I haven't watched Tennessee play. I haven't watched UCLA play."
Snyder didn't think the tight score had anything to do with Kansas State ending a 29-game losing streak to Nebraska last week.
"I've always said I don't think it was an issue," Snyder said. "Now, you never know. You'd have to ask 65 of them in there what they felt about it."
Missouri (7-4, 5-3) has lost 35 consecutive games to Top 10 opponents the last 17 years and has lost six straight to Kansas State, but made this one close. Missouri was at the Kansas State 42 when Corby Jones overthrew John Dausman at the 10 with 1:19 to go.
"We were determined to shock the world," said Dausman, who caught six passes for 169 yards and a touchdown. "Almost did it."
The Tigers led at halftime against all four Top 10 opponents they faced this season, including a 13-10 lead against Kansas State. They also faltered after the break against then-No. 1 Ohio State, Nebraska and Texas A&M.
"Our players know we're that close," Missouri coach Larry Smith said. "But we've got to get over the hump.
Kansas State played much of the game with third-stringer Murphy, who also scored on a 9-yard run in the third quarter, at tailback. Starter Eric Hickson was out with a leg injury and backup Marlon Charles is believed to have fractured his hip early in the third quarter.
Jones was 14-for-30 for a career-best 249 yards and two touchdowns, and also ran for 54 yards.
Jones scrambled for a 5-yard touchdown and hit Kareem Wise for a 20-yard score with 1:10 to go in the half as Missouri took a lead into the break for the 17th straight game.
The go-ahead score came thanks to Bishop's third interception of the year, by Harold Piersey at the Missouri 47. Jones hit Dausman for 33 yards down the left sideline and then found Wise for the score.
Kansas State scored on its opening drive when Bishop hit Gavin Peries on a 10-yard score. Martin Gramatica's 48-yard field goal made it 10-0.
The Wildcats missed a chance to tie it at the half when Gramatica failed badly on a 52-yard field goal attempt.
© 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved