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What a freaking game Saturday.

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Kerry Meier scores on fourth and seven to beat Missouri.

My Mizzou friends can just skip the rest. Lord knows I would if things were reversed.

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I’m not going to act like my feelings about the game changed from two weeks ago, when I said it would take an STD running rampant through the Mizzou locker room for KU to have a chance.* I expected KU to get hammered to begin with, and then as our key offensive players seemed to be dropping like flies over the bye-week, well, I was worried the Arrowhead scoreboard wouldn’t have enough room for all the points Mizzou was going to lay on us.

* Judging by MU’s performance in the second half, I think we can rule out the STD angle.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the ass kicking. Our guys got healthy enough to play. The weather made the field sloppy, which may have hurt Mizzou more than us. Dezmon Briscoe decided to break out. And perhaps Mizzou took KU a little lightly, looking ahead to the Big 12 title game and thinking they would toy with a team that wasn’t as good as the team they beat a year ago at Arrowhead.

Whatever the case, we got the early lead and were able to control the ball enough to run the Beat The Colts offense: controlling the clock and keeping Mizzou’s high-powered offense on the sidelines. As the first half progressed, breaks kept going our way and you could see the confidence building on our sideline.
The back and forth in the second half was a little silly. Silly in a good way. Silly in a “This is why the Big 12 is awesome” way. In the midst of our Saturday madness, I “watched” parts of the game while helping get the girls ready for pictures or cooking in the kitchen. I even turned it off for awhile as we had guests and the girls needed a Dora distraction. But I kicked it back on in time to see the final three scores of the game. The impact wasn’t nearly as big, but coming in the same year as Mario’s shot, the Reesing-to-Meier touchdown on fourth down will take a special place in KU football lore.* Plays like that don’t happen very often, and when they do, you never forget them. But, when they happen in a rivalry game, all of a sudden you remember who you were sitting by, what the weather was like, what you ate for breakfast that morning, etc.

* I’ve probably watched Mario’s shot 1000 times since April. I’ve only watched that touchdown maybe 20 times since Saturday. And I deleted it from the DVR this morning to make room for more shows for the kids.

I was excited, to say the least, although I had to temper my reaction because of our guests and the sleeping baby in the room. I loved the shots of the KU players and fans losing their minds after the touchdown. It was a great, cathartic moment in a season that hasn’t lived up to all of its promise. KU took a lot of knocks this year, blowing the South Florida and Nebraska games and getting destroyed by Oklahoma, Tech, and Texas, but that moment erased a lot of angst.

Beyond being a fun game to watch and beating our biggest rival, it was a huge win for other reasons. 7-5 is a lot better than 6-6.* It guarantees us a bowl game, although the Big 12 doesn’t look to be over-qualified this year as it was two years ago when KU stayed home at 6-6. It’s a huge boost in advance of that game, which will likely be against Minnesota in Phoenix. With nearly a month off, hopefully the guys are rested and energized and ready to go pound the Gophers, who sucked the last month of the season. More importantly, it’s a momentum builder for the program. Now, we’re in position to get an 8th win the year after winning 12. It used to take a decade for KU to get 20 wins in football. Keeping in that 7-8 win range is huge when getting on the recruiting trail and selling the program to players.

* Remember my rule, 6-6 teams should never go to bowl games.

So, great win, a terribly exciting game, and a fun way to end the regular season. A few other notes:

A couple of curious decisions with the uniforms. KU pulled out my least favorite kind of road uniform, the all-whites. I hate all-whites. I will say, though, that in the snow and muck and mud, they looked pretty cool at the end of the game. I hope they get packed away, though, and we return to the greys.

But those paled (literally) in comparison to the awful yellow jerseys Mizzou pulled out. I thought MU had buried the bright yellow era for good and were sticking with the tasteful bronzed gold they’ve been wearing for awhile. Was I wrong in thinking they kept the gold helmet decals on, so they were sporting two different colors? Ugly and bad form. The football gods noticed.

As I said, a huge game for Dezmon Briscoe. Kid has a very bright future ahead of him.

Darrell Stuckey had a perfect game. A KC guy, playing in a rivalry game in his home town makes three huge plays. That’s the kind of stuff that gets you remembered forever.

Was I the only one who kept thinking of John Madden saying “That’s football!” as the snow fell, the field got muddier, and the uniforms got covered in the muck? That’s the kind of setting, and kind of action on the field, where people who would normally have no interest in the game start calling people and saying, “Are you watching this?!?!”

Oh yeah, Rock Chalk, bitches.

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