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Three MU stars eyeing national football records

Tuesday, October 9, 2007 | 12:57 a.m. CDT; updated 10:58 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008
Redshirt freshman wideout Jeremy Maclin is on pace to break former NFL standout Marshall Faulk’s collegiate record for all-purpose yards gained by a freshman.

COLUMBIA — Tight ends Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin have put up impressive numbers in their careers so far. If they keep it up, they will be record breakers.

Thee trio are on pace to set new national records in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly Division I-A. The projections are based on the Tiger’s probable 13-game schedule. At 5-0, they should soon qualify for a bowl.

Rucker and Coffman could set receiving marks for tight ends. The Tigers’ unique spread offense has made their prolific numbers possible. While Coffman and Rucker frequently line up at wide receiver in the passing game, teams like Oklahoma and Texas keep their tight ends on the offensive line more often for pass protection and run blocking.

Rucker will be the first to threaten national records. The senior leads the nation’s tight ends in receptions (7.6) and yards per game (87.8) after five games. He’s projected to have 98 catches over the 13 games, which would eclipse James Whalen’s mark of 90 set in 1999 with Kentucky. His projected 1,141 yards would fall just short of Chris Smith’s single-season record of 1,156 set in 1990 with BYU, and his 217 career catches in his four years at tight end would tie Ibn Green’s record set at Louisville from 1996 to 1999.

But if Rucker sets that record, he might not hold it for long. Coffman could pass him next season.

The junior had 105 receptions in his first two seasons. With 24 so far this season, he’s projected to catch 62. After three years, he would have 167 career receptions, and to break the career mark, he would need only 51 more during his senior year.

Rucker said he had no idea about the records, and he started to laugh when he was told Coffman was right behind him.

“It means a lot,” Rucker said. “You play the game as a little kid to be the best that you can be, and if it happens to be that statistically you turn out to be the best at your position, it’s a dream fulfilled.”

The talented tight ends aren’t the only potential record setters.

Maclin could break marks for all-purpose yards gained by a freshman. He leads the nation in that category, averaging 214 yards per game with his kickoff and punt returns, receptions and rushes. Former St. Louis Rams star Marshall Faulk owns the record. He averaged 184.8 yards per game with San Diego State in 1991. Maclin is projected to have 2,782 yards in 13 games, which would shatter Terrell Willis’s record of 2,026 yards set with Rutgers in 1993.

TEMPLE QUESTIONABLE: Coach Gary Pinkel said tailback Tony Temple is questionable for Saturday’s game against Oklahoma. Temple won’t practice today after spraining his ankle in the second quarter against Nebraska, Pinkel said.

DANIEL WINS AWARD, ANOTHER IN THE FUTURE?: Quarterback Chase Daniel was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week on Monday after throwing for a career-high 401 yards against Nebraska.

Some media brought up the prospects of Daniel competing for the Heisman Trophy, but he was quick to dismiss the speculation.

“It’s great recognition and everything like that,” Daniel said. “It’s not even halfway through the season. I had one good game. So what? It’s putting those great games and stringing them back-to-back-to-back.”

EFFICIENT OFFENSE: After gaining 606 yards against Nebraska, Missouri’s offense ranks fourth in the nation in total yards per game. Other statistics demonstrate the team’s excellence and discipline. The Tigers are first nationally in third-down conversions and are eighth in fewest yards penalized per game.


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