November 24, 2007
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- The Missouri defense may finally see what it's like to play against its Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback.
When the No. 3 Tigers (10-1, 6-1 Big 12) meet No. 2 Kansas (11-0, 7-0) Saturday in Kansas City, they'll be facing a quarterback that shares many of the same qualities as their own. Similarities between Kansas' Todd Reesing and Missouri's Chase Daniel could help a Missouri defense that fell off a bit last week after several strong showings in conference play.
"This is probably the week where we have to play against Chase," defensive tackle Lorenzo Williams said. "He's a very tough quarterback, he throws the ball well."
Reesing, in his first full year as Kansas' starter, is tied with Daniel for second in the Big 12 with 30 touchdown passes and has thrown just four interceptions. The Reesing-led Jayhawks offense has gained more than 400 yards 10 times this season and more than 500 yards four times.
That should provide a challenge for a Tigers defense that is coming off its worst outing since the second game of the season.
Missouri allowed 406 yards last week against Kansas State, the most since Sept. 8 at Mississippi. The Wildcats' 32 points were the most scored against Missouri since Oklahoma scored 41 in handing the Tigers their only loss on Oct. 13.
"Nobody was happy with what happened," defensive end Stryker Sulak said of the Kansas State game. "We were all kind of disappointed with how we played. We can't allow that to happen if we want to hang with a good team like Kansas."
The performance against Kansas State came after six conference games in which Missouri's defense emerged as a strength. Missouri, which allowed 434 yards in its four nonconference games, is second in the Big 12, allowing 348 yards in conference games.
One reason for the turnaround was the emergence of William Moore. The junior safety has four interceptions in conference play and leads the Big 12 with six overall.
Missouri players said Reesing's accuracy and ability to make plays outside of the pocket remind them of Daniel.
"They're both great quarterbacks," linebacker Brock Christopher said. "They both run great offenses and do a good job of leading each team down the field."
Missouri got a brief look at Reesing in last year's 42-17 win. Reesing came off the bench for starter Kerry Meier and completed 4-of-8 passes for 63 yards and an interception in the fourth quarter. Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon doesn't remember much about Reesing from last season's game, but he's taken notice this year.
"He's playing at a very high level," he said. "He's a Texas guy, and you know how Texas guys are, they just play real hard. He's a great quarterback."