Tigers rise to No. 3 in AP football rankings, No. 2 in coaches poll

Sunday, October 5, 2008 | 6:55 p.m. CDT; updated 11:23 p.m. CDT, Sunday, October 5, 2008


LINCOLN, Neb. — Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel called a win in Lincoln, Neb., "another notch on our belt."

The Associated Press and USA Today college football coaches poll voters noticed Saturday's lopsided victory over the Cornhuskers, and moved the Tigers up a notch in both rankings. Missouri now sits at No. 3 in the AP poll and No. 2 in the coaches poll.

"I couldn't be more proud of everyone that was involved in this," Daniel said after the game. "And it goes a lot deeper than us, and we realize that. It goes to all the heartbreaks that Missouri fans have had against Cornhuskers for the last 30 years, especially at home."

Oklahoma maintained its position at No. 1 in both polls after a rout of Baylor. In the AP poll, Alabama kept the No. 2 spot, but earned less first-place votes than last week. As it did last week, Missouri had one first-place vote. After a bye week, LSU swapped places with Missouri, taking No. 4 in the AP and No. 3 in the coaches poll.

Winning decisively over Colorado, Texas held its position at No. 5 in both polls, ensuring the Big 12 Conference still had three teams in the Top 5. Next week the Longhorns face No. 1 Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry.

Three other nationally ranked Big 12 teams are No. 7 Texas Tech, No. 16 Kansas and No. 17 Oklahoma State, which moved up four spots after a 56-28 win over Texas A&M. The conference is becoming known for its dominating offenses this season. Combined, Big 12 teams scored 425 points on Saturday.

But perhaps it was Missouri's show of defense against Nebraska that swayed voters this week. The Tigers held the Huskers to 79 rushing yards and only 10 points until quarterback Joe Ganz found Menelik Holt for one more touchdown as time expired.

"We just focused on shutting up the naysayers," linebacker Sean Weatherspoon said, responding to pundits' pregame criticism of the Tigers' defense.

Missouri, who started No. 6 in the AP poll and No. 7 in the USA Today poll, has made its way up the polls mostly with non-conference wins at home. The Tigers have only scored under 50 points in one of five games, but critics pointed to weaknesses on defense.

"This was a great opener," safety William Moore said following the Nebraska win. "This is a great statement today."

The Tigers will take on No. 17 Oklahoma State in what is expected to be a shootout on Saturday in Columbia.

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