COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel, a Heisman Trophy finalist last year, is motivated for another big finish.
Especially after a couple of so-so outings, by his standards.
Daniel criticized his recent contributions after throwing two interceptions in Saturday's 41-24 victory over Kansas State. He had only one pass picked off in the season's first five games -- a succession of romps for the 12th-ranked Tigers -- but has thrown nine interceptions in the last five games against Big 12 opponents.
"I am being a little hard on myself," Daniel said Monday. "That's just the competitor I am, that's how I play and it's been that way since high school. I've just got to be more careful."
The 6-foot senior leads an offense that's fourth in passing (351.5 yards), fourth in scoring (45.1 points) and sixth in total offense (513.8 yards). Before Daniel arrived, no Missouri quarterback had ever passed for 3,000 yards in a season, and he topped it for the third straight time last week with at least three games remaining in his career.
Last week, Daniel passed Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer on the career yards passing list and ranks 15th on the NCAA career list with 11,434 yards. His completion rate of 76.1 percent and quarterback rating of 172.38 are well ahead of the school records.
This week, he has a chance to lead Missouri (8-2, 4-2) to its second consecutive Big 12 North title -- and second in school history.
"He's still the best quarterback I've seen," coach Gary Pinkel said. "He's used to everything going perfect all the time, and that's not going to happen. It doesn't happen to any quarterback."
Yet, Daniel fretted about "hurting the team" after the Kansas State game and again on Monday. He revisited both of his interceptions last week, noting he was getting hit on the first one and should have taken a sack, and on the second thought he had aimed the ball.
"It's not throws or interceptions where you say 'That was just a horrible throw,' it's little nitpick details that I just need to shore up," he said.
Teammates realize that's part of Daniel's personality. They also realize Missouri is good enough that it can win even without perfection at quarterback.
"Everybody is not going to play their best game day-in and day-out," said wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who caught both of Daniel's touchdown passes last week. "He still got the job done, I still put up good numbers and the defense played great, had our backs."
Tight end Chase Coffman thought Daniel came to Missouri expecting more out of himself. Dallas Southlake Carroll was 31-1 his last two years in high school and Missouri's seniors have totaled 35 wins, most in school history and an impressive total even though schools are playing more and more games nowadays.
"He's come from winning his whole life," Coffman said. "He's done a great job, and I don't think he's hurting this team at all. Everybody makes mistakes."
Daniel was handicapped against Kansas State because Coffman was held out with turf toe. Coffman holds the NCAA record for receptions by a tight end and had averaged 10 receptions the previous four games.
He's expected back for Saturday's game at Iowa State (2-8, 0-6), and a Missouri win combined with a Kansas loss against fourth-ranked Texas would clinch the North two weeks ahead of a long-anticipated showdown against the Jayhawks on Nov. 29 in Kansas City.
"With the good job they were doing, there was no need to risk any more injury," Coffman said. "I should be ready to go this weekend. I'll just keep staying in the training room and trying to get as close to 100 percent as possible."
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)