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Big 12 notebook: Missouri not looking to live down to expectations; Mike Leach says Texas Tech 'balanced'

STEPHEN HAWKINS, AP Sports Writer Modified: September 10, 2009 at 4:40 am •  Published: September 10, 2009
Mizzou not looking to live down to expectations
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel already senses a prove-something attitude from his team.

"I think so, but I also think that’s OK,” Pinkel said. "There are some other national powers that they lose a lot of players, get a lot of players drafted and people assume they’re just going to reload. But you have to earn that. … (Our players) certainly did have a chip.”

Even though they played in the last two Big 12 Championship games and were briefly the nation’s No. 1 team in 2007, there are some underwhelming expectations for the Tigers this season after quarterback Chase Daniel finished his senior season and receiver-kick returner Jeremy Maclin left early for the NFL.

Missouri was even the underdog for its season opener against Illinois.

The Tigers responded with a surprisingly easy 37-9 victory, which pushed them into the AP poll at No. 25 this week. Daniel’s successor, Blaine Gabbert, threw for 319 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score.

Pinkel described the opener as "our opportunity to show that we’ve got a decent football team, and I’m proud of the way they played.”

That likely was Missouri’s biggest challenge before Big 12 play.

Mizzou not looking to live down to expectations


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