ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Chase Daniel's fourth quarter touchdown
bailed out Missouri's bungling offense and Tony Temple rushed for
168 yards as the Tigers remained unbeaten with a 27-17 win over New
Mexico Saturday night.
Missouri (3-0) showed plenty of offensive potential with 396
total yards, but the Tigers kept squandering scoring opportunities
against a New Mexico defense that played good enough to keep the
Lobos (1-2) in the game.
Daniel finally gave the Tigers breathing room by taking Missouri
on an 80-yard, 11-play drive in the opening minutes of the fourth
quarter and scoring on an 8-yard keeper for a 20-10 lead.
Earl Goldsmith added a late 2-yard TD for the Tigers and New
Mexico scored with 25 seconds left on a 13-yard pass from Chris
Nelson to Marcus Smith.
New Mexico, whose other touchdown came from linebacker Michael
Tuohy's 11-yard interception return of a Daniel pass in the second
quarter, had trouble all night against the bigger and quicker
Missouri defensive front.
The Lobos finished with 201 total yards -- just 33 of them
rushing-- and Missouri's pressure sacked Nelson eight times. But the
Lobos were still thinking upset after Kenny Byrd's career-best
52-yard field goal cut Missouri's lead to 13-10 with 31 seconds
left in the third quarter.
That's when Daniel, who completed 25 of 36 passes for 199 yards,
led the Tigers on their best drive of the night. He completed four
passes in the drive, the two biggest a 16-yarder to Will Franklin
and a 13-yarder to Martin Rucker to the New Mexico 17.
The Tigers had wasted a good drive in the third quarter when
Temple was hit by Lobo freshman defensive back Frankie Solomon and
fumbled the ball into the end zone, where defensive end Phillip
Harrison recovered for a touchback.
Missouri led 13-7 at the half, but the Tigers easily could have
had a bigger cushion.
The Lobos lost two fumbles and Nelson threw an interception in
the second quarter, but all the Tigers got from the three turnovers
was a 36-yard field goal by Jeff Wolfert.
Missouri's offense clicked early as Daniel completed his first
six passes in a smooth 13-play drive that ended with a 37-yard
Wolfert field goal.
After New Mexico went three-and-out, Missouri went 56 yards on
five plays, with Daniel hitting Rucker with a 6-yard TD. The big
play in that drive was a 39-yard run by Temple.
New Mexico, which spent much of the first half with negative
rushing, cut it to 10-7 on Tuohy's interception. Missouri's
receivers broke upfield on the play and Daniel's pass into the flat
went right into Tuohy's hands. It was Daniel's interception this
season after seven TD passes.
New Mexico's defense held the Tigers on fourth down at the
Lobos' 5-yard line late in the first half. That drive started with
a fumble by Lobo halfback Rodney Ferguson at the New Mexico 30 that
was recovered by linebacker Marcus Bacon. Daniel completed three
straight short passes that got the Tigers to the New Mexico 7. On
fourth-and-one from the six, Daniel tried to sneak for it and came
up well short.
New Mexico's offense again gave the Tigers another opportunity
when Nelson fumbled and Lorenzo Williams recovered at the Lobos'
19. But Missouri gained just 1 yard on three plays and settled for
Wolfert's second field goal.