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Updated: Saturday, November 9, 2002 6:29 PM EST
NCAA FOOTBALL RECAP
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(21) Colorado 42, Missouri 35 (ot)
COLORADO BUFFALOES
Colorado Buffaloes
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MISSOURI TIGERS
Missouri Tigers
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COLUMBIA, Missouri (Ticker) -- Chris Brown rushed for his third touchdown of the day in overtime as No. 21 Colorado escaped with a 42-35 Big 12 Conference victory over Missouri, keeping destiny in its own hands.

Brown carried 35 times for 211 yards, one of which came on the decisive touchdown. The nation's leading rusher had 22 yards on the overtime possession, 12 on a 3rd-and-1 from Missouri's 16.

"We knew we had to score," Brown said. "That was our goal. We knew we had to put it in the end zone."

Missouri's overtime drive ended when freshman safety J.J. Billingsley forced Darius Outlaw to fumble. Safety Kory Mossoni recovered at Colorado's 10, sealing his team's 16th win in the last 18 meetings with Missouri.

"I was going in to hit him and it popped up past me," Mossoni said. "I was on my hands and knees scrambling to get that ball. That's the fastest I've ever crawled."

The Buffaloes won for the sixth time in seven games, following a 1-2 start. They can clinch the Big 12 North title and earn a place in the conference championship game with wins over Iowa State and Nebraska.

"It was a good win because it keeps us on top of the Big 12 North," Brown said. "And we need another one."

Colorado (7-4, 5-1 Big 12 North) had opened a 27-7 cushion on the first possession of the second half before Missouri scored three straight touchdowns to take the lead with 13:16 to play.

Freshman phenom Brad Smith threw a pair of second-half TD passes to Justin Gage, but the Tigers (4-5, 1-5 North) lost for the fifth time in six games and fell to 3-50 against ranked teams since the 1989 season.

"We have two more games," Missouri defensive tackle Russ Bell said. "We need to win both to go to a bowl and it's going to be something special. We'll go nuts."

The Tigers have had two near upsets this year, suffering a 31-24 loss to second-ranked Oklahoma on October 5. They play Texas A&M and Kansas State to finish the regular season.

With Brown leading the way, the Buffaloes dominated the game on the ground, picking up 372 of their 575 yards. Purify ran 19 times for 119 yards and quarterback Robert Hodge added 29 yards and a touchdown.

"You play 10 games and you've got two great tailbacks," Colorado coach Gary Barnett said. "You just put it on them and you say, 'This is it.'"

"They certainly got on a roll," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said.

Smith completed 16-of-30 passes for 209 yards with two TDs and carried 16 times for 49 yards. He entered the day needing 173 yards passing and 144 rushing to join former Clemson star Woody Danztler as the only players in NCAA history with 2,000 and 1,000 in the same season.

Gage had nine catches for 108 yards, increasing a number of records. He improved his school mark for career TD catches to 16 and his career conference marks for catches (185) and receiving yards (2,525).

Hodge was 17-of-27 for 203 yards, 47 on a pass to Derek McCoy that opened the scoring 3:05 into the game. Pat Brougham booted a 45-yard field goal 9:05 later to make it 10-0.

The Buffaloes, who scored on their first five possessions, began pulling away in the second quarter as Brown scored from 10 yards and Brougham kicked a 20-yard field goal to increase the lead to 20-7 at halftime.

Colorado then scored on the first drive of the second half, marching 80 yards on seven plays. Hodge found the end zone from a yard to give the Buffaloes a seemingly comfortable 27-7 cushion 2:27 into the third quarter.

But Gage began Missouri's comeback with a leaping 27-yard catch in the back right corner of the end zone, making it 27-14 with 10:24 to play in the third.

A possession after Colorado punted for the first time all day, Hodge was intercepted by Tauras Ferguson, who raced 43 yards untouched down the left side to get the Tigers within six.

Missouri grabbed its first lead 1:44 into the fourth quarter as Smith rolled left and found a wide-open Gage on the left side of the end zone for a 10-yard strike. The extra point made it 28-27.

"You talk about a huge confidence builder for a very young guy," Pinkel said of Smith. "It's unbelievable. That was certainly positive."

The Buffaloes had punted twice and thrown an interception on their previous three drives before marching 85 yards on 16 plays for the go-ahead score.

Colorado had a third-down conversion deep in its own territory and was successful on 4th-and-1 when Brown went off right guard for five yards, getting the ball to Missouri's 18.

Two plays later, Brown ran off left tackle and found the corner of the end zone. Hodge completed a pass to Quinn Sypniewski for the two-point conversion and a 35-28 lead with 4:43 left in regulation.

"It was good to get that under our belts, a win where we came from behind, a close game," Hodge said.

The Tigers went 67 yards in 11 plays for the tying score. Smith converted a 4th-and-4 with an 11-yard pass to Gage to Colorado's 25, then raced 24 yards to the 1 before being jarred out of bounds.

Zack Abron scored for the second time on the day as Missouri tied it at 35-35.

Colorado got possession first in overtime and gave the ball to its best player. Brown ran for 21 yards on the first three plays, took a breather and had two chances to score the go-ahead TD.

Outlaw then hauled in a crossing pattern and fumbled on a 3rd-and-10.

"I hate that I didn't make it," Outlaw said.


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