Please, enough talk about Heisman watches and BCS Bowl games. Reality set in Saturday night in front of a national television audience and 98,000+ fans in Austin. The Missouri are not as good as we thought they were. #1 Texas dominated the #11 Tigers in the first half on their way to a 56-31 win.
Despite all of the returning starters from last year’s team, the one area where the Tigers were green and inexperienced showed up again, and that’s in the offensive line. Daniel was chased and hurried and forced to make ill-advised passes for the second week in a row as the Tigers gained just 14 yards on their first four drives.
Meanwhile, the true Heisman hopeful in this game, Colt McCoy looked like Chase versus SEMO as he hit 29 of 32 passes for 337 yards and two touchdown passes while running (virtually untouched) for two more. Things were so bad or embarrassing that even when McCoy was pressured or under attack, he’d run out of trouble, fumble the ball, pick it up and still throw a completion.
Head coach Gary Pinkel continued to tell us how his defense has improved, but Texas behind their big beefy line and quick receivers were gaining seven yards a pop.
As far as Daniel, my suspicions have been answered. In pressure packed situations, the kid can’t handle it. The Longhorns kept him on the run, sacking him on the Tigers’ third play and holding Missouri to just one first down on its first four possessions. Daniel finished with 318 yards passing and two touchdowns long after Texas jumped to a 28-0 lead before Missouri finally crossed midfield and collapsed on 4th a goal inside the 10 with just under 4 minutes left in the half. McCoy coolly led Texas down the field 93 yards for a touchdown to make it 35-0.
The Texas faithful were chanting “over-rated” and they were right. Missouri laid a huge egg. On a night they could have made a statement that last week against Oklahoma State was a fluke, they proved it is the beginning of the norm.
There is plenty of criticism to go around. From a coaching standpoint, I think blame needs to be directed toward Gary Pinkel. His team was not ready at the start of this game. There were not prepared to handle fierce attack you would expect from the number one team looking to protect their house. The Tigers looked much like they did in last December’s Big 12 championship game, tense and apprehensive and Texas jumped all over them.
I’ve got to be honest. Offensive coordinator Dave Christensen’s play calling is really growing thin on me. Why would you open up with your first play from scrimmage and run a reverse? The Tigers loss seven yards and Daniel’s first pass attempt was coming from 2 nd and 17.
Instead of coming out and trying to establish Maclin and Coffman and Alexander, the trickery back fired. Nothing would have helped better than to put together a couple of first downs with some passes to build confidence and let Daniel relax.
As far as the defense, I don’t know what to say. They were a step behind, missed tackles, over ran pursuit. It will be interesting to see what Pinkel has to say after this game Monday during his press conference which we will have full coverage on Missourinet.com.
The Tigers could still cruise through their final four games against CU, Baylor, K-State and Iowa State, but that showdown at Arrowhead with KU is still going to determine the Big 12 north. Best case scenario for the Tigers is KU has three losses, Mizzou these two and it comes down to the Tigers needing to beat KU for the north title.
However, regardless of what happens, Texas, OU, and OK State are still better than any north team.
Here are the final game stats .