For the glory of ol Mizzou

Warning: The following blog contains many name misspellings. I’d look them up but I have no will to do so at the moment. You’ll understand at the end.

Missouri history:

Let’s get some perspective on Missouri before discussing today’s matchup with Oregon State in the Brut Sun Bowl. It’s the best-smelling bowl this side of Pasadena.

Missouri last won a conference championship in 1969, when there was only the Big 8. Heck, the Big 10 actually had only ten teams then. The Tigers lost 10-3 to Penn State. In the 1970s there were four bowl appearances for the Black and Gold. Considering that there were far fewer than today’s 32 bowls. That was a solid accomplishment. Between 1978 and 1983 Missouri didn’t have a losing season. They attended five bowl games in those six years.

Then there was much darkness. For the next 13 seasons Missouri won no more than five games. I witnessed the beginning of the Larry Smith era, when he went for the game-tying field goal against Tulsa (no overtime at that point) and missed. In 1997 things turned around with a 7-5 campaign. The highlights of this season included an overtime loss to eventual national champion Nebraska and a date in the Holiday Bowl. Missouri lost that game, but went back to the Insight Bowl and beat Marc Bulger and West Virginia.

It could be 1978-1983 again, as Missouri is now in their third bowl game in four years. As strange as it seems, this team could equal the most wins in a season since that 1969 Orange Bowl season. Of course, teams played ten regular season games then and didn’t fill their out-of-conference slate with losers. Missouri did play two bowl teams in their four out-of-conference games. Those teams were powerhouses New Mexico and Ohio. Did I mention that there are too many bowls?

Missouri should already have nine wins, but refs cheated them out of a last-second win against Iowa State in Ames. Then again, you really shouldn’t come down to a last-second play to beat Iowa State.

But enough of this crap. Let’s talk about the game.

2:14 p.m. Thanks to the miracle of TiVo, I get to bypass the announcer pregame crap. Chase Daniel set the Missouri passing TD record this season. He might top some of Brad Smith’s all time records before he leaves. On third and six, Daniel hits Chase Coffman underneath for a 39-yard gain. I likes me some of that. Both Coffman and Daniel are on my college fantasy team. If I win, I get the number one overall pick. Bully.

2:16 p.m. It’s six plays into the game and the announcing team has made more errors than calls. They just announced that tight end Martin Rucker moved to QB on a trick play when it was Jared Perry. Perry ran and was crushed a yard short of the first down.

Fourth and one out of the spread drives me nuts. How about an I formation, just once? Missouri gets it and I can breathe.

Tony Temple makes a great seven-yard run for the score. He was hit at the ten and took off to the left. It’s a nice start.

Oregon State is certainly in the top 25 of ugly jerseys.

Missouri’s defense has given up 202 rushing yards per game in the last six games. Gulp.

After scrambling around for what seemed like five minutes, Matt Moore hit a wide-open Sammie Stroughter in the end zone. It’s tied. Without Brian Smith at DE, Missouri’s pass rush is going to be iffy today.

Daniel muffs a third-down snap and it’s punt time. The center doesn’t hit his shotgun snap very well. Daniel is short so the ball really needs to be on target every time.

Oregon State takes two time outs in a row. They go for it on fourth down and naturally they make it. Look at that, a shotgun team puts it in the I for a short-yardage situation! Miraculous.

The running back fumbled on the play (naturally the announcer called him down), but no one went for the review. Touchdown on the next play by the QB. I have a bad feeling about this.

Hey, there’s a new show staring David Spade. That should last two weeks.

The Missouri cheerleaders are going for the gold Vegas look. I need more time to decide whether that look works for me.

Missouri’s saved on third and long with a pass interference call. The ball was thrown a little high.

Jared Perry at QB didn’t work the first time, so naturally they try it again. Gary Pinkel is sporting the visor and receding hairline look. When you’re making 1.3 million a year to go 4-4 in a mediocre Big 12, you wear whatever headgear that you want.

Missouri follows that up with the don’t block anyone play. Daniel handed the ball off to Temple and the entire Oregon State D line was there.

Daniel throws a nice pass to Brad Ekeweku for 40 yards on third and long. He later tosses a fade to Coffman but the DB knocks it away. TE versus CB is a mismatch most of the time. Jeff Wolfert kicks a FG and it’s 14-10 Oregon State.

Oregon State has to punt for the first time. Missouri strikes on third and six. Touchdown pass to Denario Alexander. I’ve never heard of the guy. Oregon State sure makes a lot of defensive mistakes for a team that beat USC. There have been quite a few plays where a WR has been uncovered. No one even went after Alexander until the ball was in the air. That’s the kind of play that works in flag football but a decent college D should be able to pick it up.

It’s Chase Daniel, Mr. Beurlein, not Daniels. Geez.

Both defenses have been terrible on third and long. Moore made one move and hit a guy for 15 yards and a first down.

Speaking of Missouri quarterbacks, I’ve been looking at Brad Smith rookie cards on ebay. He must have signed 10,000 cards before this season. No wonder he switched to receivers.

I didn’t know that Gerald Ford was a part of the Warren Commission. Something tells me that this aside is going to make me miss an Oregon State touchdown. I know it’s a former President and all, but can’t we wait for halftime to do this? I’m going to stop before the Secret Service finds this blog and puts me away.

Seriously, people, we just missed the last seven minutes of the second quarter. Oregon State and Missouri were nice enough to not score in the rest of the half so I didn’t miss anything. Here comes the superfluous halftime crap.

Having too much time on my hands can be a dangerous thing. I bought a Kellen Winslow throwback Missouri Liberty Bowl jersey. I think that was the year they beat LSU. The good thing about throwback jerseys is that no one’s leaving in free agency. I was somewhat swayed by a Frank Thomas Auburn baseball throwback, but I’m going to hold out for the green A’s jersey since that will be a strange footnote to his career. The Blue Jays’ jersey is hideous. Enough said.

So we missed two fumbles and an interception by Missouri that was called back due to replay. I guess the replay was broken when Yvenson Bernard fumbled at the one-yard-line in the first quarter. It’s pretty bad when two hours have passed in an offense-heavy game and we’re not even in the third quarter yet.

And at halftime there are stories on Brian Leonard, the fullback for Rutgers who won some award for academics, and Ray Ray McElrathbey, a cornerback for Clemson who took custody of his 11-year-old brother. Good stories, but what the *$** do they have to do with the Sun Bowl? Are all the players on these teams thugs, or just boring? Why on earth did CBS bring someone on location to El Paso to report on these stories?

The Geico caveman commercials are like that friend of yours who keeps telling the same story, even though it was moderately funny at best the first time.

The second half kickoff is at 4:14. The game started at 2. This isn’t the Super Bowl, people. Missouri tries an onside kick. It looks like it touched a Missouri guy early. Yep, it did. I think it’s funny that the ref said “Oregon ball,” considering that Oregon was the beneficiary of a bad onside kick call against Oklahoma earlier this year. There should be a replay, but it’s a play against Missouri and apparently that’s against the rules. Oregon State gets a huge run to start the drive.

Missouri blitzes Moore but he zips it to Joe Newton for the score. That’s Refs 14, Oregon State 7, Missouri 17.

Daniel hits Ekewekru on third and 20. That’s another giant gain. On the next play Chase Coffman throws a touchdown. Once again the receiver wasn’t covered. Missouri takes the lead.

Ugh. Missouri intercepts a Moore duck, then the cornerback fumbles and Oregon State recovers. Fate doesn’t like Missouri today. Oregon State goes three and out.

The Oregon State SS grabs Tony Temple by the facemask and pushes him out of bounds. No call. Daniel runs on third down but is a yard short. It’s punt time.

Oregon State goes three and out. It’s punt central here. Missouri needs a solid drive to put some distance between themselves and OSU.

Tony Temple takes it 60 plus yards. I’ll bet the Tigers are somewhat pissed at taking his redshirt off two years ago. He got a few carries that year, pouted most of last year, and just now is starting to look like the big-shot recruit he was when he signed with the Tigers.

Oregon State goes three and out again. Daniel throws it away on third down. On second down the announcers focus on a block by a Tiger lineman which looked borderline, even though Jared Perry was clocked after he took a step out of bounds. I’m not feeling the love.

After a tough start to the half, Missouri picked it up and took a 31-21 lead going into the fourth quarter. I know that I’ve changed my verb tense about two dozen times in this endless post. Sue me.

Missouri blitzes on third down. Oregon State picks it up. Easy first down. I’ll take the field goal.

That little slip screen never looks like it’s going to work, but then Martin Rucker ends up getting 15 yards. Daniel has 11 completions for 280 yards at this point.

OK, Missouri has run on second and ten nearly every time today. Temple just got 45 yards. I really should have started him in my college fantasy league. I could never do that after the second half of the Oklahoma game, when Daniel either passed or ran on every play. Daniel hits the fade to Coffman on the following play and it’s 38-24. The Beavers were flagged for illegal participation, which makes the score even more amazing.

If Missouri holds on and wins by two touchdowns, it proves what I’ve been saying all year. Gary Pinkel isn’t that good of a coach. They lost a by six to Texas A&M when a Missouri receiver fumbled at the goal line. I’ve already mentioned the Iowa State game. Just those two results alone would have moved Missouri up to the Holiday Bowl, where they would have matched up with a slightly better Pac-10 opponent.

It looks like Martin Rucker borrowed his hair style from Mr. T. I’ve never seen a blonde and brown-striped Mohawk before.

Missouri stops Oregon State on fourth down. I have no idea why fans of Missouri would flash the number one sign. A win will be good since they will probably end up in the top 25 and have some nice momentum going into 2007. Temple’s on his way to 200 yards.

Just when I thought this game was borderline over, Yvenson Bernard catches five screen passes in a row and gets the touchdown. Missouri’s spread offense isn’t great for running the clock out. First play is a total bust. Temple makes a nice run on second down to set up a third and short. The screen to Rucker gets a first down, and the college clock that I hate works in Missouri’s favor.

Rucker takes a direct snap and runs for eight yards. Now I see why the analyst thought it was him earlier. He must have seen the play in practice.

Missouri can’t do anything more and has to punt. OSU’s great punt returner gets the ball back to the 45.

On fourth and three Missouri appears to rush no one and Moore completes a short pass. There are 39 seconds left and OSU has one timeout left. An OSU tackle moves before the snap and it’s not called. Pass to Newton across the middle, ball at the 15, 31 seconds left.

It’s Newton again for a touchdown. The ball appeared to come out of his hands as he landed, and there will be a review. It won’t go in Missouri’s favor. My wife called me with a tale from the Atlantic Station parking deck and I groaned in the middle of it as Oregon State scored just that second. She hung up. Do you think I’m in trouble?

Oregon State goes for two. Yvenson Bernard runs it straight up the middle and scores. I hate Gary Pinkel. Great push by the offensive line there.

Blowing a 14-point fourth quarter lead against the fourth best team in the Pac 10? Priceless. Now I hate the college rules, because Missouri has one time out and the clock starts on the kickoff and before the first play.

Pass to Rucker, who clearly gets out of bounds but the official calls to run the clock. Strangely, Missouri spikes the ball even though they have a time out left. Three seconds left, 60 yards to go. What the heck, OSU hasn’t covered a guy deep all day.

One catch and pitch later, the game’s over. The refs had to call one more bogus illegal forward pass just to kick us in the teeth.

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