COLUMBIA – This was his moment.
Minutes before kickoff, Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel sprinted from the tunnel behind Memorial Stadium's south end zone for a final time. Flash bulbs popped. The crowd roared. Daniel jumped into the brisk evening air and jogged toward his parents, Bill and Vickie, who awaited their son's embrace beyond midfield.
By season's end, Daniel will become one of the most successful quarterbacks in program history. Last year, he finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting. Also in 2007, he led the Tigers to a Big 12 North title and their first No. 1 ranking since 1960. Entering Saturday night, he had earned a 27-9 record as a starter.
Fans will remember him in a variety of ways. They will remember him as a leader. They will remember him as confident. They will remember him as an undersized but headstrong prospect from Southlake (Texas) Carroll High School who matured into the wizard behind Missouri's most prolific offensive era ever.
Ten fans watched No. 10 sling it for final time at Memorial Stadium. Here's how they will remember.
Best memory: "Probably that Nebraska game last year. It was my first Mizzou game watching him, so it was incredible. I was expecting him to be a little taller, I'm not going to lie. I didn't recognize him."
Worst memory: "Probably the Oklahoma State game this year. I was here when he threw that last interception that kind of sealed the deal for Oklahoma State. It was bad. I saw that Kansas lost (that night), so that helped."
Legacy will be: "I think he'll go down as one of the best Missouri quarterbacks that has been around here. Hopefully, he'll go onto the NFL, and maybe for my Kansas City Chiefs. They could definitely use him. I think he'll be great."
Residence: Lee's Summit
Best memory: "I would have to say the Kansas game last year when we rocked KU in Arrowhead Stadium. I wasn't there, but I will be there this year."
Worst memory: "It was the Oklahoma State game this year. It was terrible. It just looked like he lost his concentration. He was probably trying to do too much, and that's not how he does things. … It hurts, because we were thinking national championship, which I'm sure he was too. He was pressing too hard. It was a bad day for everybody."
Legacy will be: "Chase is definitely one of the best quarterbacks to come through MU. I think Brad Smith was good, but as far as taking the team to where they are now and taking them to the national spotlight, he's the only one who has done that. … Fifty years ago, I'm not sure what they had back then, but I'm pretty sure they didn't have Chase Daniel
Residence: California, Mo.
Best memory: "Winning that Cotton Bowl (last year)."
Worst memory: "Probably that Texas game (this year) in the first half. In the first half, we were really struggling in that one. I was very unhappy."
Legacy will be: "He's the best I've seen in 50 years."
Best memory: "I liked it his freshman year when he came in during the fourth quarter (against Iowa State) when Brad Smith got hurt, and I was like, 'I like this kid.' I knew something good was going to happen."
Worst memory: "First half against Texas this year. I almost didn't watch the second half."
Legacy will be: "They need to win the Big 12 Conference this year, I think. That will cement him as the best quarterback. They need to win the Big 12 outright. They will probably win the North, so they're going to get a shot at one of them – Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State or Oklahoma."
Age: Declined to provide
Residence: Grain Valley
Best memory: "Probably how he is such a team player. I can't remember what game I came to, but he went over to the sidelines and one of the other players – it might have been (wide receiver) Jeremy Maclin. J-Mac had just scored a touchdown, and he was congratulating him on that."
Worst memory: "Sometimes, I think he can act too overly confident. I don't think his teammates are so much like that, but I think he can sometimes act a little too overly confident. I'm probably more of a J-Mac or (linebacker Sean) Weatherspoon fan."
Legacy will be: "I don't think he'll be (the best quarterback ever). Maybe so far he has been, but we don't know what the future is going to project."
Best memory: "I think probably the toughest game he played last year was against KU. … The fact that they were able to maintain their poise under such adverse conditions with such huge crowd participation, I would have to go with that one."
Worst memory: "I wasn't really happy about Oklahoma State (this year). I don't think the team came out with much spark in them. I think they still had a little carry-over from the Nebraska game the week before. I'm not sure that Chase displayed his leadership qualities until later on in the game. … The offense came out flat."
Legacy will be: "I don't know if he was the best ever. Modern-day, obviously he's the best ever. But it's a different game today than what it was back in the 1950s and '60s. … Statistically, he's going to be the best ever. But I think a couple of the other guys in the early years had as much character as he has."
Residence: St. Louis
Best memory: "I loved that shutout against Colorado (on Oct. 25). … The offense and defense all came together. Chase Daniel had a great game and threw for four touchdowns. It was pretty spectacular after the two games that they lost."
Worst memory: "The Oklahoma State game this year. It just crushed my dreams. National-title game, we could have been No. 1. I guess you could say the same thing about the Oklahoma game last year in the Big 12 championship game.
Legacy will be: "He'll go down as the best quarterback in MU history, as far as I'm concerned. He went above and beyond what his predecessor did. He has taken us to the next level. He has beaten Nebraska in Nebraska. He has taken us to the Big 12 championship game."
Residence: Sunrise Beach
Best memory: "Against Kansas State in 2006. It was just pouring rain, and it didn't stop him from passing."
Worst memory: "The Big 12 championship game in San Antonio (last year). The whole team, it seems like in really big games they don't step up. It's a different energy level."
Legacy will be: "I think he'll be up there pretty high. Best ever is always a tough one, because what's around you makes a big difference. As long as he delivers, he will do well."
Residence: Pleasanton, Calif.
Best memory: "The best game I've seen him play was probably the KU game at Arrowhead Stadium. He was accurate and he looked confident and poised."
Worst memory: "The Oklahoma State game. He just looked off. The whole team looked off. It was a very tough night."
Legacy will be: "I've been watching Missouri football since 1976. There were some great quarterbacks. … But I think Chase is better than all of them, as far as leading a team."
Residence: St. Louis
Best memory: "Last year during the Nebraska game. … I just remember him (throwing) to (tight end) Chase Coffman for a couple touchdowns."
Worst memory: "It was heartbreaking against Oklahoma (the first time in 2007). The second one wasn't even funny. He and his receivers weren't on the same page. That game, there was just something up."
Legacy will be: "Brad Smith definitely beats him in the running game, so I think Brad Smith is still the best Mizzou quarterback."