Missouri heavy favorite against Buffalo Print
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Friday, 19 September 2008 09:53
NCAAF Headline News

 COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -Missouri's defense has struggled at times during the pre-Big 12 schedule. On offense, it's almost been too easy.
The fifth-ranked Tigers have the nation's best offense entering Saturday's final pre-conference tuneup against Buffalo (2-1), averaging 57.7 points and 597 yards, while gaining 8.3 yards per snap. In last week's 69-17 blowout over Nevada, they matched the school single-game scoring record despite taking out the first team early in the second half.
``I have never had that problem in all my years,'' coach Gary Pinkel said. ``Most coaches would love to have that problem. Trust me, things will balance out here eventually.''
So far it's been a lark, and Missouri (3-0) has an eight-game winning streak against nonconference foes.
uced 11 touchdown drives lasting under two minutes, best in the country, including six last week. He has been on the field for 13 possessions, 12 touchdowns and a field goal.
The Tigers have yet to be held below 52 points, giving Pinkel a chance to experiment with trick plays. They've scored via flimflam from field goal formation the last two weeks, running up the score on helpless opponents while also sending a message to rest of the Big 12 not to go all-out to block kicker Jeff Wolfert.
``There's a fine line that we don't want to cross, and that point is to Coach Pinkel's discretion,'' Daniel said. ``We want to score every time, and that's what we'll do until Coach tells us to back off.''
Daniel produced five straight scores two weeks ago against Southeast Missouri State before getting lifted early in the second quarter of a 52-3 win. Last week he was removed in the third quarter while throwing for 405 yards and breaking the school career record for yards passing set by his predecessor, Brad Smith.
Running back Derrick Washington has scored two touchdowns in every game in his first year as starter, quickly putting concerns to rest about replacing Tony Temple. All-American Jeremy Maclin had six catches for 172 yards and three touchdowns last week, and two others had 100-yard receiving days.
way with the Tigers when he was quarterback at Nebraska from 1981-83. The Huskers beat Missouri all three years with Gill behind center, twice in Columbia.
Buffalo won five games last year under Gill, half as many as the school's total for the first seven years in the BCS division, and was Mid-American Conference coach of the year in 2007. The Bulls have momentum, coming off a last-second 30-28 victory over Temple, but this is another story.
``We have to execute almost to perfection,'' Gill said. ``We're going to have to have some good things happen for us. You almost have to play somewhat of a perfect game.''
Though Buffalo is a 34-point underdog, Gill is thinking positive.
``It's a challenge but also an opportunity,'' he said. ``If we do well against these guys it'll give us that much more confidence and prepare us for the rest of our season. We need to see how we're going to respond in this type of game.''
Missouri's defense hasn't been nearly as good as its offense, but the Tigers shut out Nevada while allowing only 125 yards in the second half last week.
``We needed that,'' linebacker Sean Weatherspoon said. ``We knew we could go out and dominate that second half, and it's great for your defense whenever you do that.''
The defense also was a weak link in the early last season, and improved as the year went on.
ive end Stryker Sulak said. ``We want to come out firing.''
 

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