Tigers weren't perfect in 31-6 win but their record is

Sunday, September 24, 2006

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- At times, Chase Daniel looked like a player making only his fourth career start. But Missouri's sophomore quarterback hit more than enough high notes to help his team complete a perfect nonconference schedule.

Daniel threw two touchdown passes to Will Franklin and ran for another score, compensating for a lost fumble and interception in Missouri's 31-6 victory over Ohio on Saturday.

"Is he perfect? No," coach Gary Pinkel said. "Is he going to get a lot better? That's the good news: He's going to get a lot better as he goes."

Missouri's defense shut down Ohio aside from an 80-yard drive in the second quarter, overcoming three turnovers, and the Tigers blocked two kicks. After prevailing in what Pinkel characterized as a sloppy game, Missouri is 4-0 for the first time since 2003 and only the fifth time since 1925.

"Missouri beat Missouri a lot today," Pinkel said. "And we still won 31-6."

Daniel was 18-for-34 for 258 yards, offsetting a lost fumble on the opening drive and an interception near the end of the first half. He was on-target just enough, hitting Franklin for 68- and 9-yard scores in the first half, and scored untouched on a 5-yard keeper in the third quarter.

"Too many mistakes, too many critical errors, too many penalties," Daniel said. "We overcame a lot of them.

"I didn't complete as many passes today because we were throwing downfield, and I missed a couple of throws."

Franklin caught four passes for 99 yards and leads the team with four touchdown receptions. The 68-yard catch in the first quarter is the longest pass play in Pinkel's six seasons.

Thomas Christy caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Austen Everson in the second quarter for Ohio (2-2), which has been outscored 55-13 in losing its last two. Coach Frank Solich is 5-2 against Missouri, all the victories coming when he was at Nebraska.

In Solich's last game at Missouri in 2003, the Tigers beat Nebraska for the first time since 1978.

"There were some bright spots early on," Solich said. "But as the game went on, we wore down and we were just not able to sustain things on either side of the ball."

Ohio was held to 188 total yards, although the lone touchdown capped the longest drive of the season against a defense ranked first in the Big 12. The Bobcats had four first downs in the first quarter against a team that had not allowed any in the opening quarter.

"We felt the momentum coming out of halftime," defensive end Xzavie Jackson said. "That was a turning point for the whole team, not just the defense."

Everson was 13-for-23 for 110 yards before being replaced by Brad Bower midway through the fourth quarter.

The two blocked kicks, one on a field-goal attempt and another on an extra-point attempt kept the Tigers' 14-6 halftime lead from being slimmer. Marcus Bacon blocked Matt Lasher's 38-yard field goal attempt to prevent Ohio from taking advantage of Daniel's fumble, and Lorenzo Williams blocked an extra-point kick in the second quarter.

"Anytime you don't get points on the board it's a huge momentum shift for the other team," Ohio running back Kalvin McRae said. "We could have used those points."

Solich blamed Lasher for kicking lower than usual.

"He has always seemed to have great height," Solich said. "Today, he seemed to be a little off on almost all phases of the game."

Williams' fumble recovery of an errant pitch by Everson led to Daniel's 5-yard run that put Missouri ahead 24-6 in the third quarter. Jimmy Jackson added a 2-yard run with 3:13 to go.

Noteworthy

* Missouri is 3-13-1 against teams from the state of Ohio, including 1-3 against Bowling Green and 1-10-1 against Ohio State.

* Daniel and Franklin have connected on three pass plays of 40 or more yards this season.

* Missouri had a season-high nine penalties for 77 yards.

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