Mizzou Tigers Beat Kansas State Wildcats
Missouri (7-1, 3-1) overcame a turnover turned into a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage to bounce back from last week's 25-19 loss to Texas A&M and get off to its best start since 1969. After starting 3-0 under new coach Ron Prince, the Wildcats (4-4, 1-3) dropped their fourth game in their last five. The game, played in a driving rain, marked Missouri's first win over Kansas State since a 27-14 victory in Columbia in 1992.
"This is another barrier we finally got through," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "And I'm glad that that's over with."
Kansas State seemed poised for the upset early. Defensive end Rob Jackson broke around left end on the first play from scrimmage at the Missouri 41 and blindsided Daniel, forcing a fumble that was scooped up by linebacker Zach Diles, who ran 43 yards for the score.
"The game could not have started any better for us," Prince said. "We came in here and tried to put pressure on the quarterback. We were able to do that on the first play."
After Jeff Wolfert made a 30-yard field goal for Missouri, the Wildcats had a chance to go up 14-3 early in the second quarter. But on fourth-and-goal from the 1, James Johnson was stopped for no gain.
"It was a great opportunity and we didn't take advantage of it," Kansas State running back Leon Patton said.
Prince said going up 14-3 would have given his young team confidence on the road.
"I told the team that this is one of the situations where we refused to do anything but fight, and that's exactly what we tried to do," he said.
Missouri then drove 99 yards in 10 plays, scoring on a 14-yard pass from Daniel to tight end Martin Rucker.
"You talk about a fourth-and-1 on the goal line and to be able to make that stop and then have your offense answer and go 99 yards, that's just a remarkable momentum swing," Pinkel said.
The Tigers made it 17-7 later in the half. On third-and-1 from the Missouri 48, Daniel threw a short sideline pass to Will Franklin, who spun around a defender on single coverage and ran untouched to the end zone. Daniel, who set a team record with five TD passes in a season-opening 47-7 win over Murray State, was 24-of-31 for 262 yards. He broke Terry McMillan's record of 18 touchdown throws in a season, set in 1969. Franklin had five catches for 87 yards and a touchdown, and tight end Chase Coffman had six catches for 75 yards and a 14-yard fourth-quarter score. Tony Temple gained 62 yards on nine carries.
Kansas State freshman quarterback Josh Freeman, who came in completing just 43.1% of his passes, was 5-of-19 for 63 yards, was intercepted twice and lost a fumble. He was also sacked four times, twice by linebacker Marcus Bacon.
But the Wildcats had success running the ball, rushing for 262 yards. Johnson carried 20 times for 127 yards and a fourth-quarter 9-yard score, and Patton rushed 18 times for 112 yards and a 15-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
The start of the second half was a disaster for Kansas State as the Wildcats committed turnovers on three of their first four plays from scrimmage, resulting in 17 Missouri points. Freeman was intercepted by Dedrick Harrington at the Missouri 48, and the Tigers eventually scored on a 3-yard pass from Daniel to Tommy Saunders. After the kickoff, Darnell Terrell outmuscled Yamon Figurs for a Freeman pass at the Kansas State 29 and returned it to the 11, setting up a 20-yard field goal by Wolfert. Two plays after that, Missouri's Pig Brown jarred the ball loose from Patton, and David Overstreet picked up the fumble and ran 41 yards for a touchdown.
Missouri now enters its most difficult stretch of the season, with a home game next week against No. 20 Oklahoma followed by a road game against No. 17 Nebraska.