October 22, 2006

No looking back

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- It's in the past. It's all in the past. That's precisely what Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel told his team as they entered Saturday with a 13-game losing streak to Kansas State. After a 41-21 loss to the No. 24-ranked Tigers, the distraught Wildcats cannot afford to dwell on their recent past as they prepare for a final four-game stretch with visions still set on qualifying for their first bowl in three seasons.

Just three starts under his belt, true freshman quarterback Josh Freeman clearly understands the motto for the Wildcats, 4-4 overall and 1-3 in the Big 12 Conference, these days.

"You really can't look back," he said.

Unlike the previous six times in which the Wildcat had left Faurot Field victorious with the concourse echoing as fans chanted and cheered, this drab, cool and rainy Saturday afternoon found the post-game aftermath deathly silent aside from the occasional jeer from a passerby in black and gold.

Phrases like, "We tried to…" and "We have to…" and "We would have…" came from the defeated purple-clad warriors as they trudged toward the awaiting team bus at the end of the ramp.

"We just have to come back and work," said Freeman, who completed five of 19 passes for 63 yards and tossed two interceptions.

"We would have been up by 11 points," said running back James Johnson, who had a career-high 20 carries for 127 yards, but was unable to manufacture the needed one yard on a fourth-and-goal play that would have given his underdog team a surprising 14-3 lead less than 20 minutes into the game.

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