September 22, 2006

Five Tiger questions for the weekend

How will Chase Daniel bounce back?

First of all, let's be straight: Daniel did not have a bad game against New Mexico. He had an average game. It is just that Missouri fans are starting to expect far better than average from Daniel. He accounted for more than 200 yards of total offense and two touchdowns, while completing nearly 70% of his passes. That's pretty solid. But solid looks mediocre after the start Daniel had. Now that he has tasted a little bit of adversity for the first time in his college career, how will he come out for the next game?

Is fumbling a problem for Tony Temple?

Temple was fantastic against New Mexico for the most part. But to ignore the fact that he actually fumbled twice inside the New Mexico 10-yard line would be foolish. Yes, the officials missed one of them, but it still happened. Temple has had some trouble hanging on to the ball at times in the past. The Colorado game from last year sticks out, and he put it on the ground on the first play from scrimmage in the Independence Bowl. The 168 yards were fabulous. The toughness was impressive. But he has to hang on to the ball. Missouri would probably trade 50 of those yards back in for each fumble. It didn't hurt the Tigers last week, but you can't leave 14 points on the field against better competition.

Will the Tigers get through the non-conference season unbeaten?

We said before the year that for this to be a successful season, Missouri had to be 4-and-0. The Tigers have been great at talking about one game at a time. But now, that one game is the one that can get them to Big 12 play unbeaten. That has not happened in three years. If you go 4-and-0 in the non-league schedule, a .500 record in the Big 12 gets you to eight wins. Mizzou has thus far avoided the typical pitfalls against Ole Miss and New Mexico. But Ohio might be the best non-con team on the schedule. They won at Pitt last year. A loss to the Bobcats takes away any and all momentum Missouri has from the first three weeks. In the end, this is the only one of these questions that really matters.

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