Missouri’s postseason harvest lies with Farmer

Jeremy Gustafson

Kirk Farmer’s career is full of promise, but not fulfillment.

Every year it has been the same script. He establishes himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the Big 12, and right as he hits his stride, he’s gone, leaving the Tigers searching for answers.

In three games this year, Farmer looks to be back on track. He’s completed 40 of 84 passes, just under 50 percent.

He’s averaging 140.3 yards per contest, and he’s thrown four touchdown passes without an interception.

But we’ve seen this before.

In 1999, as a freshman, Farmer split time under center and made his first career start in the fifth week against Colorado. He was 11-of-24 against a solid Buffalo team. He threw five touchdowns in his first two outings.

In week six against Iowa State, it was over. A broken leg ended his season early. Academic All-Big 12 was the only postseason honor he earned.

In 2000, the sophomore suffered a similar fate.

Farmer started the first four games of the year, completing 50 of 102 passes while rushing for 138 yards on 24 carries.

Then the `Blackshirts’ of Nebraska ended his year with a broken collarbone in the third quarter of the Husker-Tiger game.

Consequently, Missouri hasn’t returned to its success of the Insight.com Bowl in 1998 where it won a 34-31 battle with West Virginia.

Farmer has battled through adversity this season. He broke his hand in the offseason in a “non-football related injury.” He looked like a problem child, but has battled back and won the starting job from Darius Outlaw, a quick quarterback with a strong arm.

And now he gets another shot at Iowa State, the team that ended his season and spoiled the Tigers homecoming two years ago.

And just like in 1999, this game is big.

The Cyclones are 3-1 and are coming off a humiliating 48-14 loss to Nebraska.

Iowa State needs to show that they are the team that shutout Baylor and not the team that got ran all over.

Missouri is 2-2 and coming off an emotional triple overtime win against Oklahoma State. If the Tigers want to return to a bowl game, winning against the Cyclones is imperative.

They have six games remaining. A big home game against explosive Texas and another one versus Baylor. The Tigers go on the road to Michigan State, Kansas, Colorado and Kansas State.

Baylor and Kansas should be wins, barring the upset. The others might be out of the question.

If the Tigers beat Iowa State, Baylor and Kansas, that’s six wins. If they lose to the Cyclones, they would be left with five wins and no bowl eligibility.

To beat Iowa State, the Tigers will need to give the Cyclones a little bit of their own medicine – a smart quarterback who can run and pass.

ISU cornerback Johnny Smith III said about Farmer: “He reminds me a lot of Sage [Rosenfels]. He’s a very smart quarterback, and he can run real good.”

Farmer only has 20 rushing yards this year, but he is more than capable of tucking the ball and taking off. And he’s always a threat to find the open receiver.

The game will be huge as far as bowl implications go for both the teams involved.

For Farmer, the game will hold a different meaning. It is around this time of the season that his year ends.

The story is reading the same. This time, Farmer hopes for a little different ending.

Jeremy Gustafson is a senior in journalism and mass communication from Ogden. He is sports editor of the Daily.