November 3, 2007

Tiger Notebook: Copter takes off again

BOULDER, CO--Two plays into the game, Tiger fans feared those haunting words: "Same old Mizzou."

On the third play, Chase Daniel made it clear these Tigers were anything but.

On Missouri's second play from scrimmage, Daniel's slip screen for Will Franklin was tipped and intercepted by George Hypolite. The pick set up a Colorado touchdown and the Tigers trailed at the start of a Big 12 game for the first time this season. But Daniel's next pass sent a message that reverberated all game long. After a false start, Daniel launched a rainbow down the right sideline. It was 72 yards before Franklin was dragged down at the Colorado five.

"They just started to say, 'If you're going to play up tight, then we're going downfield with the ball,'" Gary Pinkel said. "Basically that's what we did is we just started going downfield."

Oh, did they go downfield. Daniel averaged 16.2 yards on his 26 completions in the game. In the first half, the average was 25. On the day, Daniel completed six passes of 25 yards or more to five different receivers. It should not have come as a surprise. Earlier in the week, Daniel had told reporters that Colorado played a lot of man coverage and the Tigers felt they could exploit that.

"We feel good about our guys," Daniel said. "Even before we started the game plan this week, we had wanted to get the ball down the field more. It has been pretty much non-existent."

"We dream for man coverage every day," Franklin said. "It's a happy feeling for us."

Franklin doubled his output from the past two weeks. He averaged 54.5 yards on his two receptions. Daniel and the Tiger coaches had stressed that they had to get the senior involved early.

"I felt that I never went anywhere," he said.

But the key to it all was the trigger man.

"You have a quarterback that's as accurate throwing the ball around as our guy is," Pinkel said, "I'm just telling you, what you saw right there is not normal. That's just not normal. Five percent of the people in the country can't throw the ball deep that accurately. And I see him do it every day in practice. That guy is special."

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