LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -How sadly ironic it will be if turnovers or penalties decide the Missouri-Kansas showdown on Saturday night.
All year long, these two have managed to play remarkably error-free football. Avoiding foolish mistakes and costly turnovers is a major reason the old rivals are 21-1 between them heading into the biggest, grandest game in the colorful history of a 116-year-old rivalry.
``We have an expression we use all the time,'' Kansas defensive tackle John Larson said. ``You play from the eyebrows up. You don't beat yourself.''
As in almost everything else, the No. 2 Jayhawks (11-0, 7-0 Big 12) and No. 3 Tigers (10-1, 6-1) are close to dead-even in avoiding penalty.
Kansas, while compiling the first 11-win season in school history, is tied with Army for the fewest penalties per game in the nation, with 4.18. Missouri ranks second in the nation in fewest penalty yards per game with just 32.82. The Jayhawks are sixth at 37.45.
Kansas' turnover margin of plus-21 is the best in the country, built to a large extent on quarterback Todd Reesing's accuracy. Reesing holds an ongoing team record by throwing 205 straight passes without an interception. Altogether, the 5-foot-10 sophomore has thrown 360 passes and been picked off only four times, which ties Kansas with Navy for No. 1 in the nation.
Kansas' 11 giveaways are second in the nation to Ball State's 10, and the Jayhawks' 32 takeaways are third.
Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel has put up 446 passes and been intercepted only nine times, leading to a turnover margin of plus-10 which ranks the Tigers 13th nationally
Smart, well-disciplined football is what got these two in the national championship picture.
``I don't think I came up with the expression `play from your eyebrows up,''' Kansas defensive coordinator Bill Young said. ``But I use it a lot. You need to be intelligent and you need to do what's right.''
The Jayhawks are still mad at themselves for giving up nine penalties for 98 yards during a 45-7 blowout of Iowa State last week. During the Cyclones' only touchdown drive, Kansas was flagged for multiple infractions.
``We had a sack for about a 15-yard loss and gave that up and 15 yards to boot on a facemask penalty, and then got another penalty for hitting out of bounds,'' Young said. ``They ended up getting it in the end zone and it was based on our not playing within the framework of ourselves and doing things we shouldn't do and normally don't do. We harp all the time on not making stupid mistakes.''
Young has even categorized penalties under two broad headings.
``We have combat penalties and dumb penalties,'' he said. ``Against Iowa State, we had a couple of dumb penalties. Not beating ourselves is a part of our football team.''
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel figures the difference between the least-penalized and most-penalized team in the country is ``generally about three football fields of yards.''
``That's one of our points of emphasis in our plan to win. It's nice to see us play disciplined,'' Pinkel said.
It's probably safe to say the losing team in Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday night will not have beaten itself.
``They're a very disciplined team, in the top of the country in penalties. They don't make mistakes, they don't make dumb mistakes,'' Missouri defensive end Stryker Sulak said. ``If they make mistakes, we're going to have to capitalize on them.''

Recent NCAAF Discussions

Public buries sports books on Tue, Jan 2017 by Timmy1961
Pick Wiz Play 1/15 on Mon, Jan 2017 by Michael Cash
2nd half play ne/hou on Mon, Jan 2017 by Strakey
NFL Championship Betting News and Notes on Mon, Jan 2017 by Blade
NFL WKEND SIDES &OV/UN 8-0 on Mon, Jan 2017 by armyranger
Advertisement

NCAAF Headlines

  • MINNEAPOLIS (AP) New Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck has hired nine coaches for his staff, including offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca and defensive coordinator Robb Smith.
    The Golden Gophers a...
  • The University of Oregon has suspended football strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde one month without pay after three players were hospitalized following a series of intense workouts las...
  • (STATS) - Furman will open the Clay Hendrix coaching era with a Sept. 2 trip to its oldest rival, Wofford.
    The opener is part of an 11-game schedule announced Tuesday.
    Furman and fellow S...
  • (STATS) - Southeastern Louisiana will seek to build on a successful season in its 11-game 2017 schedule that was announced Tuesday.
    The Lions, under coach Ron Roberts, reversed a 4-7 record in...
  • (STATS) - Wyoming secondary coach Curt Mallory is expected to be named Indiana State's new coach, according to reports.
    Mallory, 47, has never been a head coach. He is the son of former Indian...

NCAAF Top Stories

Thumbnail 2018 National Championship Odds Despite losing to Clemson on Monday night, Alabama has opened as the favorites to win the 2018 College Football National Championship.
Thumbnail Title Game Spread Holding Steady After some initial movement, tonight’s college football playoff national championship point spread is holding steady hours before kickoff.
Thumbnail Clemson vs. Alabama Prediction Will Alabama cover tonight against Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship or will the Tigers pull off the upset?
Thumbnail Watson/Hurts Championship Props Which impact player will step up tonight in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game? Here’s some notable player prop odds for Clemson and...
Thumbnail CFB Championship Injury Report Will No. 1 Alabamaand No. 2 Clemsoncome into tonight’s College Football Playoff National Championshiphealthy? Here is the latest on the injury report.

NCAAF Team Pages