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November 1, 2008

Just Short

WACO, Texas (AP) - Chase Daniel passed for 318 yards and three touchdowns and Jeff Wolfert kicked a 34-yard field goal with 2:31 remaining to help No. 14 Missouri escape with a 31-28 victory over Baylor on Saturday in a game the Tigers could have put out of reach early.

Baylor (3-6, 1-4 Big 12), which had twice came back from 14-point deficits but never led, had one last chance late. But Brock Christopher's interception with 1:40 left - the first thrown by freshman Robert Griffin in 210 attempts this season - finally clinched it for the Tigers (7-2, 3-2).

Daniel threw two interceptions, the first on the first play of the second quarter when Joe Pawelek picked off a pass in the end zone to keep Missouri from adding to a 14-0 lead.

Led by Griffin, who finished 26-of-35 for 283 yards with two TD passes and established a major college record for most passes at the start of a career without an interception, Baylor had long scoring drives on each of its first three possessions after halftime.

Griffin's 36-yard TD pass to Jay Finley with 9:54 left tied the game at 28, and Baylor got the ball back four plays later. Daniel's throw to Chase Coffman was high, deflecting off the tight end's outstretched hand and picked off by Jordan Lake near midfield.

But the Bears couldn't get a first down, forced to punt after a false start penalty when they were lined up and set to go for it on fourth-and-4.

Missouri then went 75 yards on 13 plays for the game-winning field goal.

The Tigers, their national championship hopes dashed by consecutive losses before a 58-0 victory over Colorado last week, jumped in front when Daniel threw TDs on the first two drives less than 8 minutes into the game.

They can still get back to the Big 12 championship game for the second straight season, if they can beat struggling Kansas State and Iowa State before a likely showdown for the North Division title against Kansas in the regular season finale.

Daniel finished 30-of-38. Coffman had 10 catches for 75 yards, Tommy Saunders had seven for 109 yards and a score and Derrick Washington rushed 14 times for 97 yards.

Baylor, looking for a signature victory under first-year coach Art Briles, lost its 16th straight game against ranked teams over the past five seasons. The previous 15 had been by an average margin of nearly 30 points.

Griffin broke the record for most pass attempts to start a career without an interception, passing the 202 of Southern California's Brad Otton from 1994-95. Griffin had already set the FBS record for most attempts by a freshman to start a career, with 175 before Saturday.

He came four short of the overall Big 12 record of 213 consecutive passes without throwing a pick.

Baylor opened the second half with a 12-play, 69-yard drive and got within 21-14 when Ray Sims scored on a 2-yard run. After Mizzou went three-and-out, Griffin's 16-yard pass to Brad Taylor tied the game after another 12-play drive.

The Tigers went back ahead when Coffman caught a 13-yard TD pass, getting one foot down in the back left corner of the end zone. Like his 3-yard scoring catch in the back right corner on the opening drive of the game, officials had to look at replay to confirm the touchdown.

But Baylor got even again with an 80-yard drive that ended with Finley's TD.

After Pawelek's early interception, Griffin scored on a 4-yard keeper.

Missouri then fumbled, but Baylor failed to capitalize and Missouri went 93 yards after a punt to take a 21-7 halftime lead on Jimmy Jackson's 1-yard run.



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