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Hungry for a win

Despite freezing temperatures, Tigers experience toasty roast of archrival Jayhawks.

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Tens of thousands of Missouri and Kansas fans mixed it up at tailgates before the Nov. 24 clash of archrivals Tigers (11–1) and the unbeaten Jayhawks in search of the Big 12 North title. Grilled chicken wings joined the standard fare of burgers, brats and beer. Gov. Matt Blunt, tired of turkey leftovers, longed for “roasted Jayhawk” at a pregame rally sponsored by the Mizzou Alumni Association.

“Cheer loud,” Association President Titus Blackmon exhorted hundreds of pregame ralliers. “Be good fans … we are a class act.”

Tiger fans roared. While Kansas fans filled the west side of Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium in blue and red, the Tiger faithful lined up on the east. Arrowhead's second-largest attendance of 80,537 looked and sounded 50-50. At kickoff, the temperature was 33 degrees. As Coach Gary Pinkel’s Tigers executed his game plan against the Jayhawks, steam snorted from helmets of players on the line. The Kansas offense under quarterback Todd Reesing tried to get something started, but Marching Mizzou, the Golden Girls and cheerleaders pelted the opposition with massive yells, thumping drums and blaring music.

The Tiger defense kept the Jawhawks out of the end zone for the first half of the game. Kansas’ two field-goal attempts failed. At halftime, the score was 14–0 Missouri. It was KU’s largest deficit of the season.

The Tigers overcame a season-high 14 penalties. The Tigers combined strong defense with quarterback Chase Daniel’s precise completions of 40 of 49 passes for 361 yards and three touchdowns to secure the win, 36–28.

“This guy is special,” Coach Pinkel said of Daniel after the game. “America got to see tonight how special he is.”

Outside the stadium, dejected Kansas fans walked quietly to their cars while Tiger fans boomed their favorite “M-I-Z, Z-O-U” from the exit ramps of Arrowhead. A heavy frost had settled on car windshields, but hearts of Tiger fans were warmed with the prospect of going to San Antonio.

It has been 47 years since a Missouri football team has been ranked No. 1, the last time being the final week of the Big Eight Conference season in 1960. By Sunday, Nov. 25, 2007, the Tigers had earned the No. 1 spot in the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) rankings. The Tigers play in San Antonio Dec. 1 for the Big 12 Championship. For information about the official Mizzou tour, go to Mizzou.com. For tickets, call 1-800-CAT-PAWS (884-PAWS in Columbia).

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