clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

How good was Chase Daniel in big games? Let's take a look

New, 38 comments

Tuesday's quarterbacks debate brought back a lot of old narratives. Let's talk about one of them.

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

During Mizzou's SEC Network Takeover, we tossed up a quick post ranking Gary Pinkel's best Tiger quarterbacks. I was most focused on the battle between James Franklin and Blaine Gabbert for No. 3 because I kind of felt No. 1 was obvious. To a lot of people, it's not.

We can argue about the impact of the talent surrounding Chase Daniel. In 2007 alone, he was throwing to four players who would end up All-Americans at some point in their Mizzou careers: receivers Jeremy Maclin and Danario Alexander, tight ends Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman. He had Will Franklin as well. And Jared Perry. Et cetera. That receiving corps was loaded. Hell, it made our Greatest top 20.

I could point out that the players who were around in both 2005 and 2006 (Rucker, Coffman, Franklin) were much more successful catching passes from a sophomore Daniel than a senior Smith, but that's not really what I want the focus of this post to be. Instead, I want to talk about a meme that never dies and only goes into remission: Chase Stunk In Big Games.

Defining Big Games is tricky. Are those games against ranked teams? Rivalry games? Postseason games? Games with major conference implications? When we're saying someone was terrible in them, we basically define them as "any game we lost," which might feel good -- he wronged us! -- but is blatantly silly.

So how was Chase Daniel in big games? Let's take a look.

Now, it bears mentioning that the success of Daniel and his receivers meant more "big games" were possible. Mizzou went to two Big 12 title games and three bowls in his three seasons as a starter. And there were issues regarding big-game health: Chase Coffman was out against both Kansas and Oklahoma in 2007 and was playing one-legged against Kansas in 2008. Danario tore up his knee in the 2007 Big 12 title game and was half-speed for most of 2008. By the end of 2006, he was basically throwing to freshmen and Saunders. And it has long been rumored/suspected that Daniel himself was dealing with some arm issues over the last half of 2008.

But we'll leave that aside for the moment and look solely at stat lines.

Chase Daniel vs. Ranked Teams

G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)

  • 2006 Oklahoma: 23-for-44, 284, 0 TD, 3 INT, 1 sack for 14 (6.0)
  • 2006 Oregon State: 16-for-29, 330, 2 TD, 0 INT, 3 sacks for 23 (9.6)
  • 2007 Nebraska: 33-for-47, 401, 2 TD, 0 INT (8.5)
  • 2007 Oklahoma1: 37-for-47, 361, 1 TD, 2 INT, 3 sacks for 24 (6.7)
  • 2007 Texas Tech: 14-for-19, 210, 1 TD, 1 INT, 3 sacks for 22 (8.5)
  • 2007 Kansas: 40-for-49, 361, 3 TD, 0 INT, 2 sacks for 13 (7.0)
  • 2007 Oklahoma2: 23-for-39, 219, 0 TD, 1 INT, 2 sacks for 12 (5.0)
  • 2007 Arkansas: 12-for-29, 136, 0 TD, 1 INT, 1 sack for 13 (4.1)
  • 2008 Nebraska: 18-for-23, 253, 3 TD, 0 INT (11.0)
  • 2008 Oklahoma State: 39-for-52, 390, 1 TD, 3 INT, 2 sacks for 17 (6.9)
  • 2008 Texas: 31-for-41, 318, 2 TD, 1 INT, 2 sacks for 10 (7.2)
  • 2008 Oklahoma: 27-for-43, 255, 3 TD, 2 INT, 2 sacks for 4 (5.6)
  • 2008 Northwestern: 27-for-44, 200, 2 TD, 3 INT, 1 sack for 1 (4.4)
  • TOTAL: 340-for-506 (67%), 3,718 yards, 20 TD, 17 INT, 22 sacks (6.8 yards per attempt)

This list includes all of what I consider to be Chase's four truly bad games: 2006 Oklahoma, 2007 Arkansas, 2008 Oklahoma State*, and 2008 Northwestern. (He was good enough in the second half that I don't hold the 2008 KU game against him all that much, even if that first half was awfully bad.)

In those four particularly bad games, he completed 60 percent of his passes, averaged 10 yards per completion, threw three touchdowns with 10 interceptions, and averaged 5.5 yards per attempt.

In the other nine games on this list, he completed 71 percent, averaged 11.3 yards per completion, threw 17 touchdowns to seven picks, and averaged 7.3 yards per attempt. This sample includes both Big 12 title games and the 2008 loss to No. 1 Texas. One of the biggest knocks against Daniel seems to be his performances against Oklahoma, but a) they weren't that bad, b) the game-swinging INT in the 2007 Big 12 title game was far more on Rucker than Daniel (Chase threw that short pass awfully hard, but Rucker still has to catch it), and c) OU scored 141 points in those three 2007-08 games. That's not exactly Chase's fault.

So he was good more often than not against ranked teams, but his bad games were putrid.

* We might be judging him harshly regarding that OSU game. He completed 75 percent of his passes, and two of his picks were dubious -- one went through Danario's hands and off his helmet, and the game-clinching pick at the end quite likely hit the ground and should have been called incomplete. But he definitely had some "What was THAT?" throws in there.

Chase Daniel vs. Rivals

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

We all have our different view of what makes a rivalry game. In my head, the first three teams I came up with to include here were Kansas, Nebraska, and Illinois. Those are the annual games that Mizzou fans seemed to most desperately want to win. You could include OU here, too, I guess, but we'll focus on these three.

  • 2006 Nebraska: 20-for-38, 244, 2 TD, 2 INT, 1 sack for 13 (5.9)
  • 2006 Kansas: 26-for-38, 356, 4 TD, 0 INT, 1 sack for 15 (8.7)
  • 2007 Illinois: 37-for-54, 359, 3 TD, 0 INT, 2 sacks for 26 (5.9)
  • 2007 Nebraska: 33-for-47, 401, 2 TD, 0 INT (8.5)
  • 2007 Kansas: 40-for-49, 361, 3 TD, 0 INT, 2 sacks for 13 (7.0)
  • 2008 Illinois: 26-for-45, 323, 3 TD, 1 INT, 1 sack for 6 (6.9)
  • 2008 Nebraska: 18-for-23, 253, 3 TD, 0 INT (11.0)
  • 2008 Kansas: 25-for-41, 288, 4 TD, 2 INT, 2 sacks for 8 (6.5)
  • TOTAL: 225-for-335 (67%), 2,585 yards, 24 TD, 5 INT, 9 sacks (7.3 yards per attempt)
    -- vs. KU: 91-for-128 (71%), 1,005 yards, 11 TD, 2 INT, 5 sacks (7.3)
    -- vs. NU: 71-for-108 (66%), 898 yards, 7 TD, 2 INT, 1 sack (8.1)
    -- vs. ILL: 63-for-99 (64%), 682 yards, 6 TD, 1 INT, 3 sacks (6.4)

Mizzou went 6-2 against these three teams when Daniel was behind center. He started the 2006 NU and 2008 KU games poorly, but all in all, these were some of his better, more memorable games.

Chase Daniel vs. the Postseason

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

  • 2006 Oregon State: 16-for-29, 330, 2 TD, 0 INT, 3 sacks for 23 (9.6)
  • 2007 Oklahoma2: 23-for-39, 219, 0 TD, 1 INT, 2 sacks for 12 (5.0)
  • 2007 Arkansas: 12-for-29, 136, 0 TD, 1 INT, 1 sack for 13 (4.1)
  • 2008 Oklahoma: 27-for-43, 255, 3 TD, 2 INT, 2 sacks for 4 (5.6)
  • 2008 Northwestern: 27-for-44, 200, 2 TD, 3 INT, 1 sack for 1 (4.4)
  • TOTAL: 105-for-184 (57%), 1,140 yards, 7 TD, 7 INT, 9 sacks (5.6 yards per attempt)

Two of Daniel's four truly bad games came in bowls, which ... I guess you could make something of that, but he was also pretty fantastic against Oregon State (in another game Mizzou lost because of defense ... *cough* and officiating). And again, while he certainly wasn't great against OU in either conference title game, a) OU was awesome, and b) he needed some help that he didn't get. I just can't pin those games on him no matter how hard I try.

So it wasn't really that he was bad in big games so much as he was bad in four games, started slowly in a couple of others, and dealt with either faulty defense or a faulty run game in a few others. There were certainly some missed opportunities, but if you want to say that Mizzou's best ever quarterback, or even its best ever player, should have figured out a way or something, then go ahead. That goes against the way I view the importance of one position (especially if we're using that to downgrade Daniel while propping up Brad Smith), but you at least have a couple of data points to use.