Columbia, Mo. No matter how potent No. 6 Missouri's offense, coach Gary Pinkel believes there's a point where enough is enough.
Big 12 Conference teams have topped 70 points the last two weeks, with Kansas embarrassing Nebraska 76-39 and Nebraska rebounding to hammer Kansas State 73-31 on Saturday. Pinkel said he's not into running up such a gaudy score, even if it might benefit the school in the polls.
"The 70-point scores, golly, that's like a basketball score," Pinkel said. "It's always been possible to do it, but years ago coaches didn't want to do that to other programs, and I try not to do it.
"I believe we're not here to humiliate coaches and opposing players."
Missouri (9-1, 5-1 Big 12) is seventh in the nation with a 41.8-point average and fourth in total offense at 514 yards per game. Another victory today at Kansas State would give the program only its second 10-victory year, and first since 1960.
But Pinkel said the Tigers can be compassionate, too.
The prime example of letting up on the throttle came in a 55-10 victory at Colorado two weeks ago, the largest margin in Pinkel's seven seasons at the school. The Tigers scored only seven points in the fourth quarter, sticking almost exclusively with the running game.
An ill-timed video montage recounting Colorado's 41-12 victory over Missouri the last time the Tigers came to Boulder, Colo., in 2005, complete with voiceover, enraged some players who lobbied for more and more points.
Defensive tackle Lorenzo Williams asked Pinkel to put the first-string back in. But cooler heads prevailed.
Take it easy : relax
"My players told me, 'They don't respect us,"' Pinkel said. "I told them, 'Take it easy, take it easy, relax a little bit."'
Quarterback Chase Daniel was on the sideline next to Pinkel when freshman Derrick Washington, the third-string tailback, scored the final touchdown on a 3-yard run and remembers Pinkel feeling squeamish about it.
"He was like, 'Man, Chase, I feel really bad about even scoring 55 on a team,"' Daniel said. "He's that type of guy. I was like 'Coach, it happens.'
"If we're running the football every time, we can't just take a knee. But we're not about that. We're not trying to run scores up on anyone."
Offensive coordinator Dave Christensen said he didn't see the video but heard about it from players.
"It's probably not the most sportsmanlike thing to do to put something up like that, particularly when you're getting it handed to you a little bit," Christensen said. "It upset the players and it upset me after the fact."
But Christensen pointed out that Missouri passed the ball only twice in the fourth quarter.
"In our offense, that's backing off," he said.
The one game Pinkel did not back off was a 41-6 victory over Nebraska to open conference play, tacking on a touchdown pass off a fake field goal with about 12 minutes to go.
Instead of saving that play for when Missouri needed it, he defended using it then because it gave future opponents a new wrinkle to consider.
"We needed to show that because that helps us as far as taking pressure off," Pinkel said.