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
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
"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
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
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
Missouri answered with a 52-yard scoring drive ending with
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
"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.
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