Missouri Tigers are least penalized team - KMOV.com

Missouri Tigers are least penalized team

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Part of the reason Missouri's offense is among the nation's best is the lack of yellow flags.

Missouri is being penalized, on average, three times per game, the fewest of any team. The average of 30.2 penalty yards per game is seventh-best.

Consider that in the Tigers' 52-17 win at Nebraska on Saturday, the Cornhuskers committed 14 penalties. Missouri has committed 15 all season -- one at Nebraska.

That's part of the reason the Tigers (5-0, 1-0 Big 12) are ranked third heading into Saturday's game with No. 17 Oklahoma State (5-0, 1-0) in what is expected to be a high-scoring contest.

Missouri comes into the game with the third-ranked offense with 568.8 yards per game. Oklahoma State is sixth at 530.2 yards per game. In terms of scoring offense, Missouri's 53.4 points per game is second to Tulsa. Oklahoma State is third, averaging 52.6 points.

Missouri defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus noted that Gary Pinkel-coached teams are always among the leaders in fewest penalties and fewest penalty yards. The Tigers were among the top-20 least penalized teams in 2006 and 2007.

"We look at three or four stats that are real important to us, and being the least-penalized is one of them because it shows that we are well-disciplined and well-prepared," Eberflus said.

Pinkel credited his veteran players with being focused during the games to avoid the mistakes that lead to penalties, including before a full house at Lincoln, Neb.

"I was pleased that through all the checking and noise at the line of scrimmage that we did a good job handling that because part of playing to win is to not beat yourself with different types of penalties," Pinkel said.

Coaches and players say Missouri's offensive system would not work if penalties piled up. Coaches strive to have players prepared, even in the most intimidating and complicated situations.

"The coaches do a good job of putting pressure on us to perform in practice so that way when you get to the game, it's nothing compared to what practice is," offensive guard Kurtis Gregory said. "They did a good job of preparing us so that when stressful situations come up, we aren't on cloud nine wondering what we should do."

Missouri had not won at Nebraska since 1978, and the game was intense -- at least before the blowout was on. Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel said it would have been easy for the Tigers to let their emotions get the better of them.

"If you would have gotten mixed up in the emotion of the game when it started with all the pre-game talk and the fact that we hadn't won there in 30 years, I think we would have had a lot more penalties and personal fouls, but we were able to handle it," Daniel said.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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