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Mizzou 25: Larry Smith Regional (Quarterfinal #4)

UPDATE: Called after 102 votes. Daniel wins 87%-12%. Poor Corby.

It's Mizzou 25, the tournament to decide the best, most influential, most likable Mizzou athlete of the past 25 years! It's like Who's Now or The Greatest Highlight, only, uhh, cool.

Mizzou 25 is set up in four 8-athlete regions: the Norm Stewart Region (basketball), the Larry Smith Region (football), the Joann Rutherford Region (all sports), and the Spider Region (fan favorites). Here's the Mizzou 25 bracket in all its resplendent glory.

We’re almost through with the Larry Smith regional! Here are the matchups. Can Corby win one for the older guys?

3/2: Brock Olivo vs William Moore
3/3: Justin Gage vs Brad Smith
3/4: Justin Smith vs Martin Rucker
3/5: Corby Jones vs Chase Daniel

Corby Jones vs Chase Daniel




  1. 134 passing yards, 368 rushing yards, 4 total TDs
  1. 624 passing yards, 742 rushing yards, 14 total TDs
  1. 1658 passing yards, 887 rushing yards, 26 total TDs
  1. 1281 passing yards, 536 rushing yards, 20 total TDs

Record: 23-23
Bowl Wins: 1

  1. 347 passing yards, 57 rushing yards, 2 total TDs
  1. 3527 passing yards, 379 rushing yards, 32 total TDs
  1. 4306 passing yards, 253 rushing yards, 37 total TDs

Record: 27-12
Bowl Wins: 2

The Boy: He wasn't much of a passer, and he probably couldn't run more than about a 4.6 40, but Corby Jones was as good a pure leader as Mizzou's had in the last 25 years. Whereas Chase Daniel was the kid we got out of Texas' hands, Corby was the kid we got out of Nebraska's hands. He was tailor-made to be Tommie Frazier's successor, but instead he followed his dad (who was on the coaching staff) to Mizzou and set out to bring Mizzou back to respectability.

Of any player on those mid- to late-'90s teams, Corby was the one truly irreplaceable one. Without Brock Olivo, we still have Blackwell and Devin West. Without West in '98, we'd have still functioned relatively well with Devaughn Black. But without Corby...yeah, let's not even think about it. Does Larry Smith turn the program around with Kent Skornia or Brandon Corso or Ryan Douglass at the helm? Of course not. Corby was the face of the program (and he knew it, which resulted in an unfortunate incident at Stankowski Field when I was a RecSports official...but we won't get into that). If Mizzou needed to convert a 3rd-and-3, we were putting the ball in Corby's hands and running the option. If we needed to convert on 3rd-and-10, we were rolling Corby out and telling him to create. There was no more consistently exciting moment in Larry Smith's tenure than when, after a couple first downs rushing the ball, Corby would run the option, then pull back looking to pass. Big things were about to happen.

I've already done the "one play signifies ___'s tenure at Mizzou" thing in these Mizzou 25 blurbs, but I just cannot go without mentioning the play that made Larry Smith cry. It was late in the third quarter against Nebraska in '97, and Corby pulled off the most amazing play I had (to that point) ever seen in person. He rolled to his right, somehow avoided getting swallowed hole by every member of the Nebraska D-Line, and with reckless abandon (an overused phrase, but there's just no other way to describe it) dove toward the endzone, blindly sticking the ball out to cross the plane. Corby showed every ounce of his football heart and soul on that play, and earned a lifetime of love and affection from Mizzou fans in the process.

The Boy: Chase Daniel is quite simply the realization of all the hope we’ve ever had for a Mizzou player or a Mizzou team. We wanted Corby Jones or Brad Smith to get Heisman hype, and Daniel finished fourth in the Heisman voting in 2007. We yearned for Corby’s teams and Brad’s teams to break through that 8-win barrier and put together a memorable season with as few "What If’s" as possible...and under Daniel’s guidance, Mizzou simply went out and won 12 games in 2007, earning its first #1 ranking in 47 years in the process.

We all know the Chase Daniel story by now. He was raised to play football. While most kids his age were learning to drive, he was learning the intricacies of the spread offense. Every time he went to the bathroom in his Southlake home, he was surrounded by inspirational quotes from Vince Lombardi, et al. He was born for stardom. As a junior at Southlake Carroll, all he did was pass for roughly 13,000 yards and 150 TDs. Problem was, he was only about 5'10. Texas, starry-eyed from the commitment of Ryan "Three Strikes" Perrilloux, decided not to offer Daniel. When Perrilloux flaked out and committed to LSU, Texas decided maybe Daniel was their man after all. Daniel told them they had their chance--he was going to Mizzou.

If Brad Smith saved the Pinkel Era with his performance in the 2005 Independence Bowl, Chase Daniel saved the moment that saved the Pinkel Era. With Smith strug-a-ling mightily against Iowa State and stinging from a cheap shot, Daniel entered the game with Mizzou down 10. Two no-huddle drives later, it was tied. And one OT period after that, Mizzou had won. They wouldn't have qualified for a bowl without that win. It was at that moment that people realized, "Hey...I sure am gonna miss Brad Smith, but I think our future's pretty bright." (That's what I was saying, anyway...ahem.)

There's really no need to rehash much of the last two years, is there? Almost 8500 total yards and 70 TDs? 20 wins? A New Year's Day bowl? A #1 ranking? The highest expectations ever for a Mizzou team (in 2008)? You know the story. You're along for the ride. This short, squatty gunslinger from Southlake has transformed the Mizzou program, and he's not done yet.