COLUMBIA, Mo. — Joseph Randle had not scored four touchdowns in a game since his senior year of high school. But he always expects it will happen.
“I feel like that every day when I wake up,” Randle said.
And with two of its top receivers out of the game due to injury in the second half, Oklahoma State needed production out of its featured back Saturday at Missouri.
On one play, he gave OSU a double-digit lead when he put a move on a defender on his way to a 16-yard score. On the next drive, he burst through a wide-open hole on the left side of the line and bolted into the end zone from 59 yards out to virtually put the Tigers away.
Randle scored three of his four touchdowns in the second half — and accounted for all of OSU's scores after intermission — to help the No. 4 Cowboys pull away from Missouri in a 45-24 victory at Faurot Field to up their record to 7-0.
“We've got players everywhere, so it was just my turn to make plays today,” Randle said.
It was the first time since last season's opener that an OSU player scored four touchdowns in a game, when Justin Blackmon and Kendall Hunter both accomplished that feat at Washington State.
Blackmon was one of the receivers that did not play in the second half, as coach Mike Gundy said Blackmon “dinged” his head and was held out for precautionary reasons. The news was not as good for fellow starter Hubert Anyiam, who is out for the season after breaking a bone in his foot.
So after a pass-happy first half, where Brandon Weeden threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns, the Cowboys turned to the ground game.
Randle tallied 105 of his 138 rushing yards after the break and turned three of the Tigers' four second-half turnovers into points. His 16-yard run that capped a short drive set up by a Shaun Lewis interception gave the Cowboys a 31-17 lead. Then, his 59-yard score after the Cowboys took possession following a James Franklin fumble put OSU up 38-17 late in the third and sent many MU fans to the exits.
“Usually I run down the field with the backs,” Weeden said of Randle's 59-yard score. “But he hit the hole and he was going. I didn't even chase him. I just watched.”
In the first half, Randle recorded his first receiving touchdown of the season when Weeden found him over the middle for a 13-yard score.
Randle's big day came one week after Jeremy Smith tallied rushing 140 yards, including touchdown runs of 74 and 30 yards. He added 71 yards on 13 carries Saturday, proving that the Cowboys have a formidable rushing attack to complement its potent passing game.
“It just happened, like last week with Jeremy,” OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken said. “One opens up and (Smith) scores, one opens up today and (Randle) scores. They're both good players. They both work awfully hard. Obviously, they're in a direct competition. But they're good friends and it doesn't bother them.”
Just like it didn't bother Smith when, after he bounced off defenders on three runs that got the Cowboys inside the red zone on the Cowboys' final drive of the game, Randle finished it off with a 12-yard touchdown.
“I talked to him after that (and told him) he got my touchdown,” Smith said with a laugh. “It's all good.”