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BIG 12

Kansas State Is Best in the North

November 23, 2003|From Associated Press

Darren Sproles ran for a school-record 273 yards and two touchdowns and No. 19 Kansas State clinched the Big 12 North Division championship with a 24-14 victory over Missouri on Saturday night at Manhattan, Kan.

Sproles, a junior who has run for 1,713 yards this season, had 186 yards in 23 carries -- to only 99 total first-half yards for Missouri -- as the Wildcats (10-3, 6-2 Big 12) built a 21-7 lead.

"I was just in the zone tonight," he said. "I was feeling it."

Sproles, who also set a school record with 43 carries, broke the single-game record of 252 yards set by Mike Lawrence against Iowa State in 1996. With two receptions for 12 yards, he outgained Missouri, 285-264.

The Tigers (7-4, 3-4) went 0-4 in conference road games. They could have won a share of the division championship and earned a spot in the Big 12 title game by beating Kansas State and closing the regular season Saturday with a victory over Iowa State.

Instead, Kansas State won its sixth in a row after a three-game midseason losing streak and will meet No. 1 Oklahoma on Dec. 6 in Kansas City, Mo. The Wildcats extended their winning streak against the Tigers to 11 games.

"It was our first chance at a championship," Missouri Coach Gary Pinkel said. "Obviously, we have a way to go."

No. 24 Oklahoma State 38, Baylor 21 -- Vernand Morency ran for 227 yards in 32 carries, his second consecutive 200-yard yard game filling in for injured Big 12 rushing leader Tatum Bell, to lead the Cowboys at Waco, Texas.

The sophomore had a 35-yard touchdown and set up another score with a 72-yard run.

Oklahoma State matched a school record with its ninth regular-season victory. The Cowboys have done that four other times, the last in 1988.

Baylor (3-9, 1-7) ended its first season under Coach Guy Morriss with seven consecutive losses.

Kansas 36, Iowa State 7 -- Quarterback Bill Whittemore ran for two touchdowns and threw for another at Lawrence, Kan., as the Jayhawks (6-6, 3-5) became eligible for a bowl for the first time since 1995.

Whittemore, in his first start since injuring his collarbone on Oct. 25, had 306 yards of offense and set a school record with his 16th touchdown pass this season.

But now they must hope Nebraska beats Colorado on Friday to guarantee a bowl slot. The Big 12 has guarantees with eight bowls.

But if Colorado beats the Huskers, the conference would have nine bowl-eligible teams.

Iowa State (2-9, 0-7), after opening the season with victories over Northern Iowa and Ohio, has lost nine in a row.

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