12:30 PM ET, September 30, 2006
Faurot Field, COLUMBIA, MO
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Five games into his career as a starter, Chase Daniel continues to make it look easy.
The highly regarded sophomore threw four more touchdown passes Saturday -- giving him 13 for the season -- as 25th-ranked Missouri improved to 5-0 with a 28-13 win over Colorado in the Big 12 Conference opener for both teams.
Daniel, who made mostly brief spot appearances in 11 games last season as Brad Smith's backup, was 23-of-35 for 253 yards. On the downside, he threw two interceptions and would have thrown a third but the defender was ruled out of bounds.
"Obviously he has worked very hard, he's a successful guy," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "He has a lot of the 'its,' the intangibles that are necessary to be a good quarterback."
Missouri is off to its best start since the 1981 team also started 5-0. Colorado (0-5, 0-1 Big 12) is still looking for the first win for first-year coach Dan Hawkins. The Buffaloes have lost nine straight since beating Missouri last November -- their longest losing streak since a 10-game slide during the 1963 and 1964 seasons.
For Missouri, after starting the season with wins over Murray State, Mississippi, New Mexico and Ohio, beating a Big 12 opponent, even a struggling one, was another step forward. Daniel dismissed criticism that the Tigers still haven't beaten any teams that pose a real challenge.
"That's for the fans and that's for everybody else to figure out," he said. "We don't really worry about that. We just want to go out there and play our A game."
Daniel and tight end Chase Coffman teamed up for first-quarter scoring passes of 2 and 9 yards. Daniel hit Missouri's other tight end, Martin Rucker, on a 1-yard score with 11 seconds left in the first half and connected with wide receiver Jared Perry on a 9-yard score midway through the third quarter.
Both teams entered the game ranked in the top 10 nationally in team defense -- Missouri (5-0, 1-0) was first and Colorado eighth. But the Tigers moved easily to touchdowns on their first two possessions, scoring on drives of 71 and 77 yards.
Colorado, ranked 113th in offense with just 223.5 yards per game coming in, actually outgained Missouri 373-353 but could manage just two Mason Crosby field goals -- a 32-yarder in the first quarter and a 36-yarder in the second -- and one third-quarter touchdown.
"Guys are starting to feel we can throw the football, we can make some plays," Hawkins said. "It's just a case of keeping it coming."
Missouri's third score was set up by a Colorado mistake when punter Matt DiLallo let a high snap slip through his hands late in the second quarter. He recovered but was tackled at the Colorado 14.
Six plays later, on third-and-goal from the 1 and out of time-outs, Daniel hit Rucker to make it 21-6.
Colorado quarterback Bernard Jackson and wide receiver Dusty Sprague connected on a 63-yard pass on the first play of the third quarter, and Jackson scored from the 1 a play later to make it 21-13.
Missouri answered with a 52-yard scoring drive ending with Perry's score.
Hawkins, trying to shake things up for a stagnant offense that has scored just 49 points this season, went for it on fourth down four times. All four failed, including a second-quarter effort on fourth-and-goal from the Missouri 4 with the Buffaloes trailing 14-3.
"At some point, you've got to play to win and not play to lose," Hawkins said. "You have to take some selective opportunities and say, 'hey, I believe in you."
In fact, Colorado should have converted at least two of the plays. Jackson missed an open receiver in the end zone on the fourth-and-goal play. And later in the second quarter, on fourth-and-2 from the Missouri 47, Dan Goettsch dropped a potential first-down pass with no defenders in sight.
"It's just a matter of time before it starts happening in our favor," said Jackson, a converted running back in his first season at quarterback. "We've just got to put plays together where everybody can execute at a fast level."
Crosby's two field goals and extra point gave him 256 career points and made him Colorado's all-time leading scorer.
The Tigers had not allowed a first-quarter score until Saturday and have outscored opponents 62-3 in the first quarter.
Missouri's starting cornerback Domonique Johnson, a sophomore, tore a knee ligament in the second half and will need surgery. Pinkel did not speculate on when he would play again.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Missouri scored with 11 seconds left in the half to put the Tigers up 21-6. That was all Missouri would need to put away the Buffaloes.
Gameball goes to... Chase Daniel. The sophomore QB connected on 23-of-35 passes for 251 yards and four TDs. It wasn't all pretty -- he finished with 2 INTs too.
Stat of the game... 2.5: Missouri averaged just 2.5 yards per carry against Colorado, which actually boasts the 16th best rushing defense in the country.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||3-12||11-18|
|4th Down Conversions||0-5||0-1|
|TD||10:58||CHASE COFFMAN 2 YD PASS FROM CHASE DANIEL (JEFF WOLFERT KICK)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 71 yards.
|FG||7:48||MASON CROSBY 32 YD FG|
Drive info: 8 plays, 68 yards.
|TD||2:48||CHASE COFFMAN 9 YD PASS FROM CHASE DANIEL (JEFF WOLFERT KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 77 yards.
|FG||7:33||MASON CROSBY 36 YD FG|
Drive info: 9 plays, 37 yards.
|TD||0:11||MARTIN RUCKER 1 YD PASS FROM CHASE DANIEL (JEFF WOLFERT KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 14 yards.
|TD||14:13||BERNARD JACKSON 1 YD RUN (MASON CROSBY KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 65 yards.
|TD||6:39||JARED PERRY 9 YD PASS FROM CHASE DANIEL (JEFF WOLFERT KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 52 yards.