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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Patton learns more than just football

The Columbia native has won respect from coaches and fans.

Senior quarterback Chase Patton looks downfield for an open receiver against Nevada Saturday at Faurot Field. Patton relishes his role as backup for senior quarterback Chase Daniel and says he learned a lot more than football while on the team.

Darren Milosevich/Staff Photographer

Sept. 15, 2008

As a high school senior at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, Chase Patton threw for 2,630 yards and 30 touchdowns.

Now, as a senior quarterback for the Tigers, Patton had an impressive showing against Nevada by completing just two passes for 72 yards and scoring a rushing touchdown.

He's no longer the No. 4 quarterback in the nation or an All-American as he was in high school. Instead, he's competing with freshman Blaine Gabbert just to be the backup.

But it's hard to find someone that would call Patton a bust or an underachiever. His teammates and their fans go wild when he scores.

"It means a ton," Patton said. "This program and Mizzou football and everything about it means a lot to me. It's great to get out there and feel the environment and know everyone is pulling for me."

Patton looked sharp in his sole series of the game, which Missouri won 69-17.

Senior quarterback Chase Daniel said that the Missouri offense was worried about the Nevada defense before this game, but it didn't show, as the Tigers racked up 651 yards of total offense.

Daniel also engraved his name in the record book Saturday when he hit sophomore wide receiver Jeremy Maclin for an 80-yard touchdown. On that pass, Daniel became Missouri's all-time passing leader. He broke Brad Smith's old record of 8,799 yards and now has thrown for 9,153 yards.

Patton's quick day of work was squeezed in between Daniel's and Gabberts' lengthier performances.

On his drive Patton connected with senior tight end Chase Coffman for a 48-yard completion.

"He's a good quarterback, and I think we're all comfortable with him coming in and being able to take Chase (Daniel's) spot," Coffman said. "That would be terrible if he goes down, but Chase (Patton) is a good quarterback too."

On the play immediately following the long completion, Patton rushed the ball to the left for a three-yard touchdown.

"It felt great," Patton said. "It always feels good to get in there. I never would have thought I'd have two running touchdowns and no passing touchdowns. I don't know if I ran more than two touchdowns in high school."

The majority of Patton's career at MU hasn't gone according to plan, but he doesn't allow himself to focus on the negatives. Even now, he keeps his mind off a tight competition with Gabbert for the backup spot.

"If I worried about that, I'd beat myself up over it," Patton said. "That's not even worth worrying about at this point. Blaine's a great guy and a great quarterback. I just got to go out there and worry about what I'm doing and let the coaches worry about the rest."

Coach Gary Pinkel doesn't seem to spend much time fretting over Patton.

"He's a great kid," Pinkel said. "He does some good things when he's in there. I'm the biggest Chase Patton fan there is."

Despite all the practices, all the reps and all the sweat that Patton has given Missouri, he never had an opportunity to become a great quarterback. What he did have, he said, was an opportunity to learn a whole lot more than football.

"Football in general, it teaches you so much about life," Patton said. "The work ethic and the competition and stuff like that, it's going to be valuable in the real world. There's a lot of things I've gotten out of it. It's not the best situation, obviously, that I would have hoped for, but I've gotten so much from it."

 

- Senior Staff Writer Nick Forrester contributed to this report

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