September 13, 2008

In Full Stride

Jared Perry said a football team can never play the perfect game. Maybe not, but Perry and his offensive teammates were awfully close on Saturday afternoon at Faurot Field.

"Really close," Jeremy Maclin said. "But there's a lot of stuff we can get better at…I think our offensive game, passing-wise, we were pretty on point."

Talk about understating the case. Missouri threw for a school record 519 yards as a team. Chase Daniel completed 23 of his 28 passes for 405 yards and four touchdowns. Three Tiger receivers topped 100 yards in the same game for the first time in school history and Perry was within two yards of making it four. The 69 points Missouri scored tied a school record.

All those numbers are impressive, but perhaps even more so is this: In the last two weeks, Daniel has led 13 drives with the Tigers' first-team offense. Those 13 drives have ended in 12 touchdowns and a field goal.

"We want to score every time we touch the ball," Daniel said. "We know it's probably not going to happen."

At this point, that may be debateable. The Tigers have not gone scoreless on a possession with Daniel at quarterback since the fourth quarter of the season-opening game against Illinois.

"It's pretty evident, I'm on punt team and today we only went out there one time," Sean Weatherspoon said. "Running the ball, they do that well. You see how they throw the ball. Chase Daniel is making great throws out there. I don't think anybody else can make some of those throws."

Daniel is certainly among the frontrunners for the Heisman Trophy early in the season. He has now thrown for 973 yards and ten touchdowns against just one pick. He certainly has the support of his teammates. Maclin, after a day on which he had 172 yards and three touchdown catches, was asked about his own Heisman candidacy.

"I'm doing everything I can to get Chase to New York," he answered.

Is Daniel the best quarterback in the country?

"By far," Maclin said. "By far."

Perhaps now the biggest issue is keeping an offense that will get plenty of praise from getting overconfident.

"As soon as you start thinking you've got it, it goes," Gary Pinkel said. "As soon as you start thinking you're the man and you're real good and nobody can stop us, guess what? It goes fast."

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