Number one in my heart

Let’s just pretend that the last three weeks of the NFL never happened. That way, I can put my entire focus on the brand new, choke-free Missouri Tigers. Even though, according to BCS rankings, the AP is no longer valid, I have to point out who is the number one team in the land.

The game started like most Super Bowls, with both teams struggling. The Tigers made the first foray into enemy territory, but they blew it with a questionable fourth-down fake field goal. William Franklin snuck on the field and took a quick pass from Tommy Saunders. Kansas’s speed was too much and the attempt fell short. Luckily, Kansas didn’t retrieve their offense until the second half. Todd Reusing threw two red-zone interceptions and Scott Webb missed two field goals.

Chase Daniel (Chase Daniels to perpetually clueless Brent Usurer), threw three touchdown passes, including a crazy, scrambling play where he ended up back at the 33 yard line before rolling forward and hitting Dana Rio Alexander for the 14-0 halftime lead.

The lead was 28-7 at the start of the fourth quarter. The Mansions, as Kansas’ squad is called, were in the famous choke position. At that point the Missouri defense realized that they weren’t the ’85 Bears anymore. Even without a running game, Reusing had no trouble hitting guys all over the field. It was 28-14. Daniel drove the team to field goals as Reesing scored touchdowns. The last two touchdown drives for Kansas took about a minute and a half. There was no defense. With the score 34-28, it was time for the game-defining onside kick. The ball did not hop, and Saunders cradled it.

Of course, this being a team I root for, Missouri couldn’t just run out the clock. Three predictable runs later, it was fourth down. There were 20 seconds or so left. I secretly wanted Missouri to go for it but they punted. On the first play Reesing was sacked in the end zone and the game was over. I thought it strange that Kansas kicked away on the free kick, but I suppose it was the concession speech.

Heroes of the game: Chase Daniel is the man. I guess it’s OK to have Missouri ranked number one, but the QB for the top ranked team in the country isn’t Heisman worthy. All of the talk was about Tim Tebow and Darren McFadden. I’m sorry, but when was the last time a guy for an 8-4 or 9-3 team won the Heisman? I’m going to be content that Daniel gets the invite to New York since Missouri players win the Heisman only in the EA Sports universe.

Tony Temple was a beast. There were plays when he had a giant hole through which to run. There were other times when he was hit immediately upon getting the ball. He fought for extra yardage and Kansas tackled like my high school team. I hope he gets the medical redshirt and comes back next year. Missouri will need him with three senior linemen leaving the school.

Danario Alexander was supposed to be the up and coming young WR stud this year, but Jeremy Maclin eclipsed him when Alexander was out due to an injury. Alexander took up the slack as Maclin got a lot of Kansas’s defensive attention. He had a season-high 117 receiving yards.

Big ups also go to William Moore, who intercepted a Reesing pass at the goal line early in the second quarter, and Castine Bridges, who took a tipped pass 49 yards to set up Missouri’s third touchdown. No one will remember the late-game collapse as much as the early-game heroics that created such a large lead.

Jeff Wolfert made two fourth-quarter field goals that were the difference. Wolfert came to Missouri on a diving scholarship. He hasn’t missed a field goal in Big 12 play. Missouri kicking has been a comedy of errors until Wolfert came to town.

Being a top ranked team hasn’t been the best spot this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if Oklahoma, a superior team to Kansas in nearly every way, wins next week. Then again, the cache of being a team of destiny has to be worth something. I like seeing Missouri ranked over an 11-1 Ohio State team. It’s going to take a similar team effort to win. Last night was probably the first time all year I’ve watched my team not turn the ball over. Let’s hope that streak continues for one more week.

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