|Daniel, Missouri stumble in another big game|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 06 December 2008 18:57|
The Tigers' quarterback was a Heisman Trophy finalist last year and has routinely picked apart lesser foes during an impressive three-year run. But he's also looked rather ordinary against higher-caliber opponents.
Daniel is 0-4 against Oklahoma with eight interceptions and only three touchdown passes after Saturday night's 62-21 blowout loss in the Big 12 championship game, including two turnovers that fueled the Sooners' 28-point second quarter. He finished 27-for-43 for 255 yards with three touchdowns, two interceptions and a lost fumble.
Missouri (9-4) has 21 victories the last two seasons but only the win over Kansas last season for the school's first North Division title really counts as a signature win. The 19th-ranked Tigers have lost two straight since coach Gary Pinkel got a new $2.3 million contract and are headed for a lesser bowl, likely the Alamo Bowl Dec. 29.
ne of many signals that Pinkel's rebuilding job is far from complete. They were a 17-point underdog largely because of a porous defense that couldn't prevent the Sooners from topping 61 points for the fifth straight game.
Daniel has sputtered when Missouri needed him most.
His fourth-quarter interception sealed an upset loss to Oklahoma State that knocked Missouri out of the national title picture after a 5-0 start. He came up empty against Texas the following week.
Missouri followed that slump with four straight high-scoring victories, but slow starts will again be a prominent topic in the leadup to the bowl game.
Without a reliable defense to keep the Tigers in it while Oklahoma scored on all but one first-half possession, Daniel faced another futile game of catch-up. Seemingly vulnerable Oklahoma quarterback Chad Bradford, scheduled for surgery on a broken left thumb on Sunday, was rarely hit and had plenty of time to locate targets.
Oklahoma rolled up 359 yards at the break against a defense that has been soft all season despite replacing only one starter from last year's team. The Sooners effortlessly exploited Missouri's pass defense, ranked 116th in the country.
Last week, he was 0-for-6 with an interception and a lost fumble in the first quarter and the Tigers fell behind 19-10 at halftime before losing 40-37 to Kansas, a game also played in Kansas City.
Texas was up 35-3 at the break of a 56-31 blowout that caught Missouri still smarting from an upset loss at home to Oklahoma State the previous week, then traded touchdowns the rest of the way.