After two difficult weeks in which the Missouri defense seemingly got burnt every play, and star quarterback Chase Daniel struggled mightily, everything came together for the Missouri Tigers in their Homecoming game against the Colorado Buffaloes.
I was fortunate enough to be on the field for the game with the Missouri student television station, and the atmosphere was ridiculous. Fans stayed well into the fourth quarter, and the defensive starters actually went back into the game at the end of the last drive to preserve the shutout.
A statement had to be made, and it was. Here's what I noticed.
—Chase Daniel was good again. It's not that Chase was terrible against Texas, but he was definitely bad for at least one half. Against Colorado, his numbers were back to their old, monstrous form. Chase threw for 302 yards and five TDs, completing 84 percent of his passes and throwing one pick on a tipped ball.
—The running game and offensive line didn't impress me. Daniel was only sacked once, but it seemed like the pocket was always collapsing, and the running game wasn't that great. Derrick Washington averaged only 4.9 yards but struggled in the red zone. It appears at this point that the line is barely above average for the Tigers, and that they might be a point of weakness for the team.
—One strong point for the Tigers in their two losses was tight end Chase Coffman. Although he wasn't as good against the Buffs, he still had seven catches for 50 yards and a touchdown. He also became the new NCAA leader in career receptions for a tight end.
Coffman's athleticism was out in full force on Saturday. He made a tremendous one-handed touchdown catch in the first quarter and also hurdled over a Colorado defender that wasn't even going for his legs. He'll be a playmaker in the NFL.
—Brian Coulter has really come into his own. He came to Mizzou late in the fall with tremendous expectations, but has only now started to show bursts of greatness. Coulter sacked the punter on a botched snap in the first quarter and also had a sack later in the game. With Tommy Chavis and the rest of the defense struggling lately, Coulter should see an expanded role.
—Speaking of coming into their own, youngsters Austin Wuebbels, Jacquies Smith, Will Ebner, Dan Hoch and Kenji Jackson are really learning the game. Wuebbels and Hoch got a lot of time in on an offensive line that has struggled lately, and Smith really made an impact on the defensive line.
With all the talent that the Tigers will lose after this season, the future looks brighter with that group getting extended snaps in meaningful situations.
—The shutout meant a lot to the defense. You could see that by the raw emotion that players like Sean Weatherspoon and William Moore were showing on the last drive of the game, with a 58 point lead. Hopefully the new blood that got some time, and the zero point total will give the unit some confidence.
—It might not make a difference in the end, but Missouri was hosting some big recruits this weekend to watch the blowout. Bryce Brown, the No. 1 RB in the country was in Columbia, as was No. 4 WR Jheranie Boyd. It's still unlikely that either one will end up at Missouri, but the simple fact that these caliber of prospects are visiting Missouri is a statement.
I'll have an article about some potential commitments and prospects for the 2009 signing class, so keep an eye out for that if interested.
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