Consider this Tiger unleashed. Playing with the elusiveness and ingenuity that highlighted his freshman year and made him a dark horse for the Heisman Trophy coming into this season, Smith darted his way to a school-record-tying four touchdowns as Missouri overcame a 10-point deficit late in the third quarter to beat previously undefeated Nebraska 41-24. It was the Tigers' first win over the Cornhuskers since 1978 and their first victory over a Top 10 opponent since 1981.
Through the first five games Pinkel had noticed that the 6'2", 205-pound Smith was reluctant to throw into coverage down-field, often choosing instead to dump the ball off safely to his running backs. While Smith had not thrown an interception in 124 attempts, his tame approach seemed to also affect his running—he had just 33 yards on 17 carries in the Kansas loss. Against Nebraska, however, Smith rushed 18 times for 123 yards and three touchdowns, and he scored another on a 47-yard catch-and-run. His efforts helped the Tigers (5-1, 1-1 in the Big 12 North) move back into the Top 25 at No. 24. "I think I'm going to get better at letting loose," Smith says. "As a quarterback you love to learn and get better. I think I've taken a step toward that."