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Tigers, Buffs Open Conference Play

MUTIGERS.COM During CU's last visit to Faurot Field in 2008, Chase Daniel was 31-of-37 for 302 yards and five touchdowns.
MUTIGERS.COM
During CU's last visit to Faurot Field in 2008, Chase Daniel was 31-of-37 for 302 yards and five touchdowns.
MUTIGERS.COM

Oct. 4, 2010

Colorado Buffaloes (3-1) at #24/#22 Missouri Tigers (4-0)

GAME CENTRAL:

KICKOFF: 6:10 p.m. CT.

STADIUM: Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field (71,004 - FieldTurf surface). Opened in 1926. MU is 253-167-20 there alltime and has won 26 of its last 31 overall and is 36-10 there since 2003 (3-0 in 2010).

RADIO: Tiger Network. Mike Kelly (play-by-play), John Kadlec (color), Chris Gervino (sidelines), Scotty Cox (producer), Matt Winegardner (director). Carried on over 50 stations across the Midwest, and on the Internet at mutigers.com.
   The MU broadcast will also be on Sirius Satellite Radio (channel 125).

TV: Fox Sports Net. Bill Land (play-by-play), Joel Klatt (analyst), Erin Bajackson (sideline reporter), Jeff Muckleroy (supreme commander). Alternate Channel Information For St. Louis-Area Viewers

RANKINGS (AP/Coaches):
   MU - 24th / 22nd.
   CU - None.

SERIES: MU leads, 41-31-3 overall. The series is tied, 7-7, in Big 12 play. MU has won 4 straight - its longest in the series since a 6-game string from 1979-84, and the combined score of the last 3 MU wins is 149-27.

COACHES:
   MU: Gary Pinkel (Kent, `75), 71-46 at MU (10th year) and 144-83-3 overall (20th year). Pinkel is 5-4 vs. Colorado and is 4-0 vs. Dan Hawkins.
   CU: Dan Hawkins (UC-Davis, `84), 19-34 at CU (5th year) & 111-57-1 overall (15th year). Hawkins is 0-4 vs. Gary Pinkel and Mizzou.

TIGERS OPEN CONFERENCE PLAY
   It's time to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, as Big 12 Conference season is upon us. The Missouri Tigers (4-0), and ranked 22nd in this week's USA Today Coaches' Top-25 Poll, begin conference play this Saturday as they play host to the Colorado Buffaloes (3-1 overall) in the Big 12 opener for both schools. Kickoff for the game is set for 6:10 p.m. (central time) at Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field. The game will be televised on FOX Sports Net.
   Mizzou, 3-0 at home this season, will look to get out of the gates fast against the visiting Buffaloes, who they have defeated three straight times, by a combined score of 149-27 from 2007-09. The Tigers are coming off a bye week, which followed an undefeated non-conference run for the fifth straight season. Mizzou has posted 21 consecutive regular-season non-conference wins, with the last defeat coming in 2005 against New Mexico. After winning Big 12 North Division titles in 2007 (7-1 league record) and 2008, (5-3) the Tigers were dethroned by Nebraska in 2009. The quest to get back to the top of the division starts on Saturday against CU.
   Colorado comes to town riding a 2-game winning streak, thanks to consecutive home wins over Hawai'i (31-13 on Sept. 18th) and Georgia (29-27 Oct. 2nd). The sole blemish on CU's record was a 52-7 loss at California in week two, after they opened the season with a 24-3 win over rival Colorado State on Sept. 4th in Denver. The Buffaloes had a back-and-forth affair last Saturday in their win over Georgia, and they rallied from a 24-14 3rd-quarter deficit with 15 unanswered points and then withstood a late Bulldog charge to post the win.
   The Buffaloes have relied on their ground game in their last two wins, as they ran for 235 yards and 3 TDs against Georgia, one week after gashing Hawai'i for 252 yards and 2 TDs on the ground. Additionally, Colorado has been solid in defending the run, as their defense ranks 18th in the NCAA in the category, allowing only 100.75 yards per game. Opponents have managed only one rushing TD in 4 games against Colorado - making the Buffs one of only seven teams in the nation through games of Oct. 2nd to allow one or fewer rushing scores. They have also used their running game to control the clock, as they enter Saturday's game ranked 7th in the NCAA, with an average time of possession of 33:41.

EIGHTEEN (AND I LIKE IT)
   Entering this week's games, Mizzou stood as one of 18 undefeated teams left standing. Eleven teams entered the week at a perfect 5-0, with another seven touting 4-0 marks.
   We know that the ranks of the undefeated will drop by at least two after this weekend, as two games feature undefeated teams this week - Nebraska (4-0) at Kansas State (4-0) on Thursday night, followed by Michigan State (5-0) and Michigan (5-0).

TIGERS GUNNING FOR 5-0 START FOR 4TH TIME IN LAST 5 YEARS
   Mizzou will look to continue its perfect start to the 2010 season and improve on their 4-0 record Saturday vs. Colorado. A win over the Buffaloes would give Mizzou its fourth season of at least a 5-0 start in the last five years - a feat which had never happened in consecutive seasons at MU prior to the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Mizzou has started 5-0 to a season only 9 times overall in its previous 119 years of fielding a football team.
   Here's a look at all of the previous seasons in which MU has started a season 5-0, with the 1st number in parentheses the start and the 2nd number the end record for the season (#-Won Big Eight Championship %-Won Big 12 North Division Championship):

  • 1899 (7-0 / 9-2)
  • 1905 (5-0 / 5-4)
  • 1960 (11-0 / 11-0)#
  • 1969 (5-0 / 9-2)#
  • 1973 (6-0 / 8-4)
  • 1981 (5-0 / 8-4)
  • 2006 (6-0 / 8-5)
  • 2007 (5-0 / 12-2)%
  • 2008 (5-0 / 10-4)%
1st Quarter Rushing Offense (By Avg.)
Rk. Team G Att. Yards Avg. TD
1. Mizzou 4 27 271 10.04 5
2. Michigan 5 56 505 9.02 7
3. Nebraska 4 29 258 8.90 3
4. UAB 4 32 269 8.41 2
5. Alabama 5 45 363 8.07 4
6. Air Force 5 57 438 7.68 2
7. Temple 5 33 248 7.52 5
8. Northern Illinois 5 45 331 7.36 4
9. Oregon 5 54 396 7.33 5
10. Georgia Tech 5 53 379 7.15 3

MU GROUND GAME MOST POTENT IN THE NATION DURING 1ST QUARTER
   Us P.R. types are known for our ability to take a random stat and skew it for our purposes to position something in our favor. Maybe this next factoid doesn't mean a hill of beans in the overall scheme of things, but we thought it was pretty interesting to note that no team in the nation is averaging more yards per rush than Mizzou in the 1st quarter of play (thanks to cfbstats.com for the breakdown).
   In the 1st quarter of play, Mizzou is averaging a whopping 10.04 yards per rush (27 attempts, 271 yards), and that has led to 5 TDs. At right is a look at the nation's top-10 1st-quarter rushing teams (through games of Oct. 2nd):
   Sophomore Kendial Lawrence has had the most success initially in the opening period, as he's averaging 14.60 yards per rush in the 1st quarter (5 rushes, 73 yards, 1 TD). That's 6th-best individually in the NCAA. True freshman Henry Josey is very close behind, averaging 12.11 yards per rush in the 1st quarter (9 carries, 109 yards, 3 TDs). That's 14th-best individually in the NCAA. Sophomore De'Vion Moore is next on the chart, coming in at 26th nationally, with his 1st-quarter average per rush of 10.00 (7 carries, 70 yards, 1 TD).

MORE ABOUT THE TIGER GROUND GAME
   Mizzou's rushing attack doesn't garner the attention its aerial game does in the spread offense MU has employed since installing it prior to the 2005 season. However, the Tigers have shown in 2010 that their ground game is something to be aware of, as it's been very efficient and effective when called upon thus far. Here are some basic factoids regarding the Tiger ground game...

  • It's been a tailback by committee approach thus far, with the bulk of the carries being split by junior De'Vion Moore (31 carries, 183 yards, 3 TDs, 5.9 avg.), true freshman Henry Josey (26-212, 4 TDs, 8.2 avg.), sophomore Kendial Lawrence (16-112, 1 TD, 7.0 avg. in 3 games), and true freshman Marcus Murphy (13-81, 1 TD, 6.2 avg. in 3 games). Lawrence missed the McNeese State game due to an injury, and Murphy did not play in the season opener against Illinois...
  • Those four backs have been very potent, as they've combined to average a salty 6.84 yards per attmpt (86 combined carries, 588 yards, 9 TDs)...
  • Mizzou has 12 rushing TDs through 4 games in 2010, and that is just 3 shy of MU's 13-game total of 15 rushing TDs in all of 2009...
  • The Tigers have 12 rushing TDs in 124 attempts in 2010, good for a TD per 10.33 attempts. In 2009, MU had 15 rushing TDs in 444 attempts, for a ratio of one rushing TD per every 29.6 attempts...
  • Mizzou's average of 4.97 per rush ranks 38th in the NCAA (through games of Oct. 2nd), which is a big jump from 2009, when MU ranked 83rd nationally with a per-rush average of 3.72 yards...
3RD-QUARTER
STATISTICAL COMPARISON
Category MU Opp.
Points 50 3
Total Yards 505 207
1st Downs 28 14
Rushes-Yards 37-150 27-43
Rushing Avg. 4.05 1.59
Rushing TDs 3 0
10-Yd.+ Rushes 3 1
Fumbles Lost 1 3
Pass Comp.-Att. 35-of-46 15-of-33
Pass Comp. Pct. 76.1% 45.5%
Passing Yards 355 164
Passing TDs 3 0
INTs Thrown 0 2
QB Rating 162.43 75.09
25-Yd.+ Passes 3 1

THIRD QUARTERS HAVE KEYED TIGER WINS
   Whenever he's asked about halftime adjustments, MU Coach Gary Pinkel is fond of saying that if you're waiting until halftime to make adjustments, you're waiting too long.
   Even with that being the case, Mizzou has been coming out of the lockerroom for the second half in dominating fashion. The tone was set in the season opener, when the Tigers trailed rival Illinois, 13-3 at halftime, only to come out looking like a new team in the 3rd quarter. Thanks to a 7-0 3rd-quarter (which was more lopsided than the score might indicate), the Tigers went on to a 23-13 win. Mizzou outscored McNeese State by a 17-0 margin in the 3rd quarter of game #2 to pull away for a 50-6 win. In game #3, Mizzou won the 3rd quarter by a slim 3-0 margin over a tough San Diego State team, and that certainly played a role in allowing the Tigers to post the eventual 27-24 win. Last time out, Mizzou held a solid 28-3 halftime lead over Miami (Ohio), but they quickly removed any doubt about the eventual outcome of the game, thanks to a sterling 23-3 blitz in the 3rd quarter that led to MU's 51-13 win.
   In fact, Mizzou's defense is one of only 6 that has not allowed a touchdown in the 3rd quarter of play so far this season (through games of Oct. 2nd). That select group includes:

  • Mizzou
  • Alabama
  • Baylor
  • Iowa
  • Kansas State
  • Penn State

As one would imagine, most of the pertinent stats related to the 3rd quarter are heavily in MU's favor. At right is a look at how they stack up so far this season.

OVERALL WINS, 2007-10
BIG 12 WINS, 2007-10
1. Texas 38-7 (84.4%) 1. Texas 21-5 (80.8%)
2. Oklahoma 36-10 (78.3%) 2. Oklahoma 19-6 (76.0%)
3. Mizzou 34-11 (75.6%) 3. Mizzou 16-8 (66.7%)
4. Texas Tech 31-12 (72.1%) 3. Oklahoma State 16-9 (64.0%)
5. Oklahoma State 29-14 (67.4%) 3. Texas Tech 16-10 (61.5%)
6. Nebraska 28-15 (65.1%) 6. Nebraska 13-11 (54.2%)
7. Kansas 27-16 (62.8%) 7. Kansas 12-13 (48.0%)
8. Kansas State 20-20 (50.0%) 8. Kansas State 10-15 (40.0%)
9. Texas A&M 20-22 (47.6%) 9. Texas A&M 9-16 (36.0%)
10. Colorado 17-24 (41.5%) 10. Colorado 8-16 (33.3%)
11. Baylor 15-26 (36.6%) 11. Iowa State 6-20 (23.1%)
11. Iowa State 15-27 (35.7%) 12. Baylor 4-21 (16.0%)

TIGERS HAVE BEEN TOPS IN THE BIG 12 NORTH THE PAST 3+ SEASONS
   Over the last 3-plus seasons (2007-10), no team in the Big 12 North Division has been more successful than Mizzou. The Tigers rank 3rd-best in the league in overall wins (34) and Big 12 wins (16) during the period, and that is also tops among North Division schools by a three-game margin. Here's the tables (through games of Sept. 30th)...

MIZZOU-COLORADO SERIES HISTORY
   Saturday's game against Colorado will be bittersweet for many associated with the rivalry, in a couple of ways. From an historical perspective, this will mark the 20th anniversary of the infamous 5th Down Game, which was played in Columbia on Oct. 6, 1990 (more on that to follow).
   More importantly, Saturday will mark the last meeting between the longtime rivals for the forseeable future, as Colorado will be moving to the Pac-10 Conference beginning with the 2011 season.
   Mizzou and Colorado will face off for the 76th time when they meet Saturday in Columbia. The Tigers hold a 41-31-3 advantage in the series, and have won four straight, and five of the last six meetings, after the Buffaloes won five straight from 1999-2003.
   The Tigers are hoping to rekindle some of the magic that's seen them post dominant wins over Colorado each of the last three seasons.
   Mizzou has downed CU by a combined margin of 149-to-27 in the last three years, including a 58-0 shutout in Columbia in 2008 that was its largest victory margin ever over Colorado (and it was MU's first shutout of Colorado since a 57-0 win in 1962). In 2007, the Tigers got their first win in Boulder since 1997, with a 55-10 win that was the biggest margin of victory ever for MU in Boulder. Last year in Boulder, MU surged to a 33-0 first-half lead and cruised to a 36-17 win.
   Since the Big 12 Conference formed for the 1996 season, the series between the two old Big Eight Conference foes is as close as can be, with it tied up at 7-7. Colorado did most of its damage early on, thanks largely to a five-game winning streak from 1999-2003. Two of CU's wins in that 5-game streak came in overtime, as the Buffaloes took a 46-39 OT win in Boulder in 1999, and followed with a 42-35 OT win in Columbia in 2002.
   A win Saturday would give Mizzou five straight wins over Colorado for the first time since it won six straight from 1979-1984.

LAST YEAR REWIND: MIZZOU 36, COLORADO 17
BOULDER, Colo. - In what was considered a must-win game for the Missouri football team to remain in the Big 12 North race, the Tigers exploded for 21 points in the first quarter en route to a 36-17 win over the Colorado Buffaloes. The win put Mizzou at 5-3 on the year and 1-3 in the Big 12.
   On the first drive of the game, the Tigers wasted no time storming out of the gate, going on an 11-play, 81-yard drive to draw first blood, as Derrick Washington put Mizzou up 7-0 on a one-yard touchdown run.
   The second drive of the game took up considerably less time off the clock, but was exciting still as the combo of Blaine Gabbert-to-Danario Alexander connected on a 73-yard score to put the Tigers up 14-0 midway through the first.
   With the quarter coming to a close, the defense put Colorado deep in its own territory, and gave Mizzou great field position for another scoring drive. After a 31-yard gain by De'Vion Moore to the CU 33-yard line, Gabbert connected with Alexander again on a two-yard touchdown pass to go up 21-0. That lead would increase to 26-0 early in the 2nd quarter, thanks to a Grant Ressel field goal, followed by a sack of hansen in the end zone by safety Jarrell Harrison.
   Tasting blood, the Tigers received the ball on the free kick with the drive beginning on their 40. The team ate up 34 yards on passes of 10 and 14 yards from Gabbert to Jared Perry and Alexander and a 10-yard rush by Kendial Lawrence. But the signature play came on the field goal attempt after the drive stalled out at the CU 24-yardline. With Ressel setting up for the attempt, the snap was quickly picked up by Forrest Shock and pitched to Jacquies Smith, who scrambled around the left side and into the end zone. The extra point by Ressel put the Tigers up 33-0.
   Colorado got some momentum going in the 3rd quarter, closing to 33-10. Later in the third, with MU in scoring position, Gabbert tried a pass to the right flat for TE Andrew Jones, but it was read by Benjamin Burney who intercepted the pass and ran 78 yards the other way to the end zone making the score a little tighter at 33-17.
   With the Buffs starting to give Missouri problems on both sides of the ball, the defense gave the Tigers momentum the team needed by stopping Colorado on a fourth-and-one deep in Tiger territory, thanks to a huge stop behind the line by LB Sean Weatherspoon. Although the offense would punt on its next possession, the Tiger defense came up big again, with Kevin Rutland intercepting Hansen to kill the drive.

THE 5TH DOWN GAME REMEMBERED
   One of college football's most historic games took place on Faurot Field on Oct. 6, 1990, when the eventual national champion Colorado Buffaloes pulled out a 33-31 victory, scoring the winning touchdown on what turned out to be a fifth down on the last play of the game.
   With MU leading 31-27, Colorado embarked on a frantic march down the field in the final minute of play. Gaining a first down at the MU three-yard line, with 31 seconds to play, CU quarterback Charles Johnson spiked the ball to stop the clock. After regrouping, Eric Bieniemy charged up the middle to the one-yard line and Colorado called its final time out. Eighteen seconds remained.
   It was here that the officials failed to notify the chain crew to flip the down marker from 2nd to 3rd down. When play resumed, Bieniemy tried to go over the top but was thrust backward by Tom Reiner, Mike Ringgenberg and Maurice Benson. The clock reached eight seconds, and officials ordered it stopped momentarily to clear the pileup.
   Then, on what was really fourth down (but only third down according to the down marker), Johnson spiked the ball again. With two seconds to play, Johnson squirted over right tackle Mark VanderPoel. Hit by Reiner and Ringgenberg, he rolled over and extended the ball into the endzone and the officials signalled touchdown. Of course, Tiger fans to do this swear that Johnson was down before he stretch the ball over the endzone, another factor which makes it such a lasting memory.
   Pandemonium reigned for more than 20 minutes as those in attendance tried to determine just what had happened. But, with time expired, there was no avenue for appeal. What had appeared to be a major upset victory for the Tigers went into the record books as a bitter pill to swallow.
   Colorado went on to win the Big Eight Conference championship, and with a victory over Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl, claimed a share of the national championship.
   Here's how the play-by-play read of the game's final five plays:

1-G-MU 3	Charles Johnson pass incomplete
2-G-MU 3	Eric Bieniemy runs middle, gain of 2 (Tom Reiner)
3-G-MU 1	Bieniemy runs middle, no gain (Reiner, Maurice Benson)
4-G-MU 1	Johnson pass incomplete
5-G-MU 1	Johnson runs middle. TOUCHDOWN. Johnson run for PAT, no good.

MOE LEADS NCAA IN RECEPTIONS, EGNEW RANKS #5
   It was pretty clear to observers during fall training camp that QB Blaine Gabbert was in the process of developing a good chemistry with sophomore WR T.J. Moe and junior TE Michael Egnew. That comfort level has most definitely transferred to the season, as Gabbert has connected with Moe for 37 completions in 4 games, while Egnew's 33 catches are right behind.
   Moe, who caught all of 2 passes as a true freshman in 2009, currently finds himself as the nation's #1 most prolific pass catcher through 4 games, as his 37 receptions (for 394 yards and 2 TDs) are ranked 1st nationally entering Saturday's game against Colorado. Moe, who was initially pegged to play safety when he first came to Mizzou, made his 1st career start in the 2010 opener vs. Illinois, and made 13 catches for 101 yards and 1 TD, and he followed with a 10-catch, 79-yard outing against McNeese State. Of course, his legend at Mizzou will be forever cemented in the history books after his 7-catch, 119-yard outing in week #3 against San Diego State, most notably for his 68-yard catch-and-run score with just :51 seconds left that gave Mizzou a dramatic 27-24 win. Moe followed by catching 7 passes for 95 yards last time out against Miami (Ohio), despite not seeing the field much after halftime due to the lopsided score.
   Egnew is in a similar situation, in that he's relatively new to being a focal point of the passing attack. After catching a total of 7 passes for 47 yards (0 TDs) in 2008 and 2009 combined, Egnew has emerged as a weapon, with 33 receptions for 298 yards and 1 TD through 4 games. Egnew ranks 5th in the NCAA among all players with his 8.25 receptions per game average, and his 33 receptions are most in the nation among tight ends, 7 more than the next on the list (North Carolina's Zack Pianalto, with 26). He is also tops in the nation among tight ends in receiving yardage per game, at 74.50 yards entering Saturday's game against Colorado.
   He began the season by snagging 10 catches for 60 yards and 1 TD against Illinois, and followed with 6 grabs for 52 yards against McNeese.
   Egnew had an outstanding game against SDSU in game #3, as he finished the night with career highs in receptions (13) and yards (145). Both totals represented school single-game records for tight ends at Mizzou, with the old standards being 12 catches for 140 yards by former All-American Chase Coffman at Texas in 2008. He had a more pedestrian 4-catch, 41-yard outing in limited time last time out in MU's 51-13 blowout win over Miami (Ohio).

TIGERS ARE 36-10 AT `THE ZOU' SINCE 2003 SEASON
   Since nicknaming Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium "The Zou" prior to the 2003 season, Gary Pinkel's Tigers have done a nice job of defending their home turf (FieldTurf surface, which was also installed prior to the `03 season, by coincidence).
   Since 2003, the Tigers are an impressive 36-10 at home, good for a winning percentage of 78.3%, including 18-9 during that time in Big 12 competition (66.7%). That breaks down to records of 6-0 in 2003, 3-3 in 2004, 4-2 in 2005, 6-1 in 2006, 6-0 in 2007, 5-1 in 2008, 3-3 in 2009 and 3-0 in 2010.
   In fact, the record book shows that Mizzou has dominated at home against fellow Big 12 North foes. The Tigers have lost at home to a Big 12 North opponent only once since 2005, when it dropped a 27-12 contest to rival Nebraska last season. In all, MU has won 10 of its last 11 home games over Big 12 North foes. Here's a rundown:

  • 2005: vs. Iowa State (W, 27-24 in OT); vs. Nebraska (W, 41-24)
  • 2006: vs. Colorado (W, 28-13); vs. Kansas State (W, 41-21); vs. Kansas (W, 42-17)
  • 2007: vs. Nebraska (W, 41-6); vs. Iowa State (W, 42-28)
  • 2008: vs. Colorado (W, 58-0); vs. Kansas State (W, 41-24)
  • 2009: vs. Nebraska (L, 27-12); vs. Iowa State (W, 34-24)

GABBERT IMPROVES TO 12-5 AS A STARTER
   The old adage is that quarterbacks will be judged in the history books by how many games they help their teams win, not by the records and stats they accumulate.
   Junior QB Blaine Gabbert is off to a great start in the winning category, as he's helped guide Mizzou to a 12-5 record in his 17 career starts (70.6%). Win number 12 came last time out against Miami (Ohio) when Gabbert had an efficient day which included 15-of-21 passing for 187 yards and 1 TD (with 1 INT) in MU's 51-13 win. Gabbert retired for the day early in the 3rd quarter but managed a QB rating of 152.42 before grabbing the headset for good - his second-highest rating of the season (154.13 vs. McNeese State is tops thus far).
   His passing yards average of 259.75 ypg ranks him 23rd in the NCAA currently, and he's also 34th in the nation in total offense (257.25 avg.). Gabbert has completed 103-of-151 passes so far for 1,039 yards and 5 TDs, in helping lead MU to wins over Illinois, McNeese State and a dramatic late rally to beat San Diego State, in addition to the Miami (Ohio) win.
   Gabbert threw for a season-high 351 yards in the win over San Diego State, as he completed 28-of-51 passes, including the game-winning TD to T.J. Moe covering 68 yards with just :51 seconds left. He became the first Tiger QB to throw a game-winning TD in the final minute of play since Pete Woods beat 2nd-ranked Ohio State in Columbus in 1976 (a 22-21 win with :12 seconds left).
   Gabbert did throw his first two interceptions of the season in the 4th quarter against SDSU, but he also helped stake the Tigers to a 17-7 lead late in the first half when he scrambled 11 yards for his first rushing TD of the season, on a play where all his receivers were covered.
   In limited action gainst McNeese State, Gabbert completed his first 15 passes, and eventually finished the game 26-of-31 (220 yards, 1 TD) to break the MU single-game completion percentage record with a mark of 83.9%, breaking the old standard of 83.8% set in 2008 by Chase Daniel vs. Buffalo.
   In the opener against Illinois, Gabbert helped lead the Tigers to a 20-point 2nd half as MU rallied for its 23-13 win over Illinois in St. Louis. Gabbert finished the game 34-of-48 for 281 yards and two TDs. While he was solid in the first half (14-of-20 passing, 114 yards, QB rating of 117.88), he enjoyed a more effective 2nd half, as he completed 20-of-28 passes for 167 yards and 2 TDs (QB rating of 145.10).
   Gabbert ended 2009 ranked 2nd in the Big 12 Conference (29th nationally) in passing efficiency, with a rating of 140.45. He was also 4th in the Big 12 and 11th in the NCAA in total offense, averaging 292.08 yards per game.
   The fourth QB to start for 10th-year Head Coach Gary Pinkel in his Mizzou tenure, Gabbert hopes he can continue a trend his predecessors Brad Smith and Chase Daniel achieved - increasing the win totals dramatically from the first year to the second year as a starter.
   Smith started as a redshirt freshman in 2002 and helped the Tigers to a 5-7 record. In his second year as a starter, the Tigers went 8-5 in 2003 - an improvement of 3 wins. Daniel started for the first time in 2006 as a true sophomore, and he helped take the Tigers to an 8-5 record. In his 2nd year running the show, the Tigers exploded for a school-record 12-2 record - an improvement of 4 wins.

PASSING GAME ODDS & ENDS
   A few random notes regarding Mizzou's passing attack...

  • All 5 of Mizzou's passing TDs (all by Blaine Gabbert) have come in the 2nd half so far...
  • Mizzou's 2nd-half team pass efficiency rating is 149.29, compared to a 1st-half rating of 119.50...
  • In the 3rd quarter of play so far, MU's team pass efficiency rating is 162.43, which is the best of any quarter (35-of-46 for 355 yards, 3 TDs, zero INTs)...

TIGER RUSH DEFENSE STOUT IN 3RD QUARTER
   Mizzou's defense has had the most success against opposing rushing attacks in the 3rd quarter, as foes are averaging just 1.59 yards per attempt (27 rushes, 43 yards, 0 TDs).

  • The average of 1.59 yards per attempt ranks as 2nd-best in the NCAA for the 3rd quarter...
  • Only 1 run of 10 yards or more has been managed by opponents in the 3rd quarter so far, and the longest run was a 16-yarder by McNeese State on the last play of the 3rd quarter in MU's 50-6 win...
  • That 16-yard run is the only one in the 3rd quarter that Mizzou has allowed so far which has resulted in a first down for opponents...
  • For all quarters, from the MU 40-yardline to the goalline, opponents are averaging just 1.29 yards per rush (38 rushes, 49 yards), and have just 1 TD, with just 2 runs of 10 yards or more to this point...

DEFENSE RANKED 10TH IN NATION WITH 13 TURNOVERS FORCED
   Mizzou's rallying cry on defense each day is, "It's all about the ball," a saying meant to put the focus on getting the ball for the Tiger offense. Through 4 games in 2010, that mantra has served Mizzou well, as the Tigers enter Saturday's game against Colorado tied for 10th in the NCAA for most turnovers gained in the nation, with 13. Among teams who have played just 4 games, the 13 takeaways are 3rd-most nationally, behind only Oklahoma State and Troy (14 each).
   MU's 4-game average of 3.25 takeaways puts the Tigers on pace for 39 turnovers, which would be a nice step up from the 23 total gained in 13 games in 2009 (1.78 avg.).
   The Tigers showed just how impactful takeaways can be against Miami (Ohio) last time out, when the defense set the tone for the day on the first play of the game, when LB Andrew Gachkar forced a fumble after a short pass completion on the RedHawk 21-yardline. Tiger CB Carl Gettis picked the ball up on the 19-yardline and raced down the left sideline untouched for the first score of his collegiate career which put MU up, 7-0, just :08 seconds into the game. The Tigers went on to get 3 takeaways against Miami, including 2 fumble recoveries and an interception by DE Michael Sam that he returned 62 yards.
   After getting 9 takeaways in their first 2 games combined, Mizzou couldn't get the ball out against San Diego State in game #3, but the one they did manage was huge, as it was a goal line interception in the 4th quarter by senior CB Kevin Rutland that helped play a key role in MU's eventual 27-24 win.
   The big plays began against Illinois in the 2010 opener, when Mizzou nabbed 3 interceptions and 1 fumble in a 4-turnover day, and they continued last Saturday against McNeese as MU collected 3 more INTs and 2 fumbles. Combined with the Tiger offenses' ability to hang onto the ball (4 turnovers so far), MU's turnover margin of +1.50 per game is currently 7th-best in the nation (Oregon is #1, at +2.20 p/g).
   Mizzou ranked 50th in 2009 with 23 turnovers gained (15 fumbles, 8 INTs) in 13 games. The 8 INTs so far in 2010 have already equaled the total of 8 INTs the Tigers got in 13 games in 2009. The 2010 ratio of 8 INTs in 132 opponent passing attempts so far is 1-in-16.5, compared to 1-in-59.4 attempts in 2009 (8 INTs in 475 attempts).

TIGER PASS DEFENSE RANKS 5TH IN NATION IN EFFICIENCY
   Mizzou's propensity for snagging interceptions (MU's 8 INTs gained so far is tied for 9th-most in the nation, and is 2nd-most in the nation among teams who have played just 4 games) has helped the Tigers' pass defense keep opponents' passing attacks in check.
   Mizzou enters Saturday's game against Colorado ranked 7th in the nation in pass efficiency defense, with a rating of just 96.55. Opponents have averaged only 174.3 yards per game in the air against Mizzou (the Tigers rank 29th-best in the nation in that category), and have thrown 8 interceptions, compared to only 3 touchdowns (with two of them being 4th-quarter TDs in garbage time by both McNeese State and Miami).
   The ranking signifies a big improvement from the 2009 season, when the Tiger defense ranked 74th nationally in pass efficiency, with a rating of 132.54 for opposing QBs. The highest Mizzou has ever ranked in the category (which wasn't tracked until 1990 by the NCAA) was in 2004, when the Tigers ranked 12th (104.28 rating).

MIZZOU COACHING WINS LEADERS
Coach Wins # Seasons (Years) Record Pct. # Bowls
Don Faurot 101 19 (1935-42, 46-56) 101-79-10 .558 4
Dan Devine 93 13 (1958-70) 93-37-7 .704 6
Gary Pinkel 71 10 (2001-Present) 71-46 .607 6
Warren Powers 46 7 (1978-84) 46-33-3 .580 5

PINKEL STANDS 3RD ON ALLTIME MU COACHING WINS LIST
   Mizzou Head Coach Gary Pinkel is in his 10th season at MU (20th overall as a head coach) and touts a career record of 144-83-3 (63.4%).
   Pinkel, who has led MU to a combined record of 49-21 (70.0%) over the past 5+ seasons, and to bowl games in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, has a 10-year record in Columbia of 71-46 (60.7%). Dating back to the 2005 Independence Bowl win over Steve Spurrier and South Carolina, Pinkel has won 43 of his last 59 games overall (72.8%).
   MU's win in the 2008 opener against Illinois gave Pinkel his 50th MU win, and he now ranks 3rd on the coaching wins list at MU, with 71.
   Pinkel is in a select group of Mizzou coaches that includes College Football Hall of Famers Don Faurot and Dan Devine, as well as Warren Powers, to be the only coaches to have an MU record of above .500 (with at least one full season coached) dating all the way back to 1935. At right is a quick look at the top winning coaches in MU history.
   For his efforts in 2007, Pinkel was a finalist for several national coach of the year awards, including the Robinson, Bryant and Munger awards. He was also named the National Coach of the Year by FieldTurf in 2007.
   Mizzou's bowl appearance in 2009 means that Pinkel has led MU to 6 bowl games overall, and he now joins Devine as the only other coach to guide MU to 6 bowl games.
   Pinkel has directed Mizzou to 6 winning seasons (8-5 in 2003, 7-5 in 2005, 8-5 in 2006, 12-2 in 2007, 10-4 in 2008 and 8-5 in 2009), with those representing 6 of MU's 8 winning campaigns dating back to the 1983 season.
   The Big 12 North Division titles won by Mizzou in 2007 and 2008 represent the first football conference title of any kind Mizzou has won since 1969 - the last time it claimed a share of the old Big Eight Conference crown.
   In November of 2008, Pinkel agreed to a new seven-year contract, meaning he'll patrol the Tiger sidelines through the 2015 season.