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Victory bolsters Tigers' pride

Sunday, October 26, 2008 | 8:25 p.m. CDT; updated 9:41 p.m. CDT, Sunday, October 26, 2008
Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel, right, congratulates tight end Chase Coffman on his 1-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter of Saturday's victory over Colorado.

COLUMBIA — Missouri football players all faced the same question after Saturday's game, “Did you have something to prove to the nation tonight?”

With the BCS polls making little difference after back-to-back losses took the team out of the national title race, most players said the 58-0 win was personal.

“I think we had something to prove to ourselves,” Chase Daniel said.

Jeremy Maclin echoed the statement, “It was more about proving it to ourselves.”

After shutting out Colorado, the Tigers also convinced poll voters to give them a boost that helped them in the BCS rankings. Missouri moved one spot to No. 14.

"There are times for everybody, when your pride gets hurt a little bit by how you played, and you want to get that back," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said about the losses his team suffered against Texas and Oklahoma State.

He called the Colorado game, the Tigers’ “best focused effort, in terms of preparation, of the entire year.”

In a relatively predictable week for college football, there was little change at the top of the polls. No. 1 Texas and No. 2 Alabama held their spots for the second week in a row. Penn State stayed at No. 3, beating now No. 12 Ohio State in front of a record crowd of 105,711 at Ohio Stadium.

No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 5 USC did not move in the BCS either. Texas Tech moved up a place to No. 7 after battering Kansas in Lawrence, Kan. The Jayhawks fell out of the rankings from No. 23 following the 63-21 loss. Oklahoma State, who nearly defeated Texas, fell three spots to No. 9.

Four teams in the top 10 hail from the Big 12 South Conference. Texas and Texas Tech, the only undefeated teams in the conference, meet on Saturday in Lubbock, Texas. The Longhorns have the opportunity to secure their position before finishing the season against three unranked teams. The Red Raiders have the harder schedule. After playing Texas they face Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.

If the Tigers win out, Missouri will play one of those teams in the Big 12 Championship at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Missouri does not play Texas Tech in the regular season this year. Players and coaches say they are through looking ahead.

"It’s time to stop saying ‘We want to do this, we want to do this,’ and just do it,” defensive tackle Jaron Baston said. “We’re going to just enjoy the game of football.”

Following the same strategy as last week, Pinkel said all that matters is 2 p.m. Saturday when the Tigers play Baylor in Waco, Texas.

"Our whole thing as a staff was to forget about everything in the world except what we had to do to get our team finally focused," Pinkel said. "That's what we did. We prepared like that, we played like that."


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