KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Dak Prescott was in college at Mississippi State, he learned to play quarterback from Alex Smith.

Smith, from his college days at Utah, was inevitably in the video clips that Prescott’s head coach, Dan Mullen, would use to teach him how to properly operate the offense. Mullen and Smith have a connection, too. Mullen was Smith’s position coach at Utah.

“Half the plays we ran were brought from Utah,” Prescott said. “He would show clips of Alex running them, stuff from the shovel pass to the option to stuff in the pass game. I was honestly in college trying to mimic what Alex was doing at Utah.

“I just know a lot of Alex through Coach Mullen. Oftentimes Coach Mullen, in coaching or just trying to give a reference, would mention Alex. I didn’t know him before the NFL but I just know a lot about him and his game through Coach Mullen.”

Prescott and Smith met one another at last year’s Pro Bowl, and on Sunday they will meet again. Prescott’s Cowboys will play against Smith’s Kansas City Chiefs in Dallas.

Both are among the NFL’s top passers. Smith is the NFL’s top-rated quarterback, while Prescott is ninth.

For his part, Smith admires what Prescott has accomplished since joining the Cowboys last season. He replaced the injured Tony Romo as the starting quarterback during the preseason and immediately established himself as one of the NFL’s top QBs.

Smith knows the difficulty of that. Before he was traded to the Chiefs in 2013, it took Smith several seasons before he established his career with the San Francisco 49ers.

“I keep track of him, for sure,” Smith said. “We have mutual college coaches, so I definitely followed him all through college and the last couple of years. How could you not be impressed with what he’s done up to this point? To step into that role, you’re not expected [to play]; you’ve got big shoes to fill, obviously, with Romo going out.

“To come in and to make the plays that he’s done as a young guy, that’s hard, really hard. To be as consistent [and] to do the little things, that’s the thing you see as well. You see both. He’s got the big-play ability, but then coming in and also being so solid, doing the little things play in and play out, giving his team a good chance. I’ve been really impressed and obviously a fan of his. Just not this week.”

While Prescott is doing the same things for the Cowboys that he did last year, Smith is having his best NFL season. The Chiefs are 6-2 in part because of his efforts.

Smith is on pace for 32 touchdown passes and more than 4,300 yards. Both would break his single-season bests by large measures. He hasn’t thrown an interception in 259 pass attempts.

“You’re at the halfway point and you’ve got to just keep going,” Smith said. “If you expect to want to do any of that stuff or eclipse any of that stuff, you’ve just got to keep plugging away. It’s too early, I guess a little bit, to be feeling good or comfortable or anything like that. You just roll.

“We’ve got a bunch of big games [ahead]. They only get bigger. We’ve put ourselves in a good situation. That’s really what you want. That’s what you’ve been working hard for. You’d like that to keep going.”