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Mizzou makes a statement

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MU vs. OU captions.

From left, Bill and Susan McFarland of Columbia enjoy coffee and hot chocolate with son Ryan and his fiance, Valerie Price, of Dallas before the game.

Cheerleaders lead the team onto the field for the 10:40 a.m. Jan. 1, 2008, kickoff.

No. 22 Tony Temple directs blockers as he scores Mizzou's first touchdown.

No. 17 Kendall Irving fires up the crowd from the bench.

Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin runs past an Arkansas defender.

Quarterback Chase Daniel launches a pass in the first quarter.

The temperature was 32 degrees at the start of the game. Jim Andrews of Albuquerque, N.M., shows his Tiger spirit and stays warm at the same time.

Tailback Tony Temple breaks Cotton Bowl records with 281 yards rushing and four touchdowns.

Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon closes in on Arkansas quarterback Casey Dick.

Mizzou defenders swarm the Arkansas offense.

No. 1 safety William Moore and No. 91 defensive lineman Charles Gaines celebrate Mizzou's 38 to 7 victory over Arkansas.

Mizzou fans numbering 35,000 cheer for their beloved Tigers, including No. 12 Sean Weatherspoon.

One sign says it all.

When asked how he was doing Dec. 31, 2007, Bill Cocos said, “I’ll know by tomorrow afternoon.” Later that night, at a rocking New Year’s Eve party for Mizzou alumni and fans in Dallas, Brock Hessing also talked about what would happen on the afternoon of Jan. 1, 2008: “I plan on smiling all the way home.”

Cocos, BS BA ’53, of St Louis hasn’t missed a Mizzou home football game since 1948, and he was doing just fine by the afternoon of the Jan. 1, 2008, Cotton Bowl. Ditto for former football Tiger Hessing, BS ’60, of Dunlap, Ill.

Both men and countless others put their faith in Tiger football, and the team didn’t disappoint. At the end of the 2008 Cotton Bowl, the scoreboard read Mizzou 38, Arkansas 7. The Tigers’ white jerseys were covered in stains from a one-sided battle. Arkansas’ red side of the stadium was empty, but the black and gold remained in full force. They shouted “Tony” in honor of tailback Tony Temple’s record-shattering day. They shouted “M-I-Z, Z-O-U.” They shouted “B-C-S.”

The game was supposed to be an offensive showcase, and it was — for Mizzou, at least. It wasn’t the predicted showcase, though. Heisman finalist Chase Daniel passed for only 136 yards and no touchdowns, but he seemed perfectly happy to hand the ball and the glory to Temple, who rushed for two Cotton Bowl records: 281 yards and four touchdowns.

On the flip side, Mizzou’s defense stifled Arkansas’ potent attack and held Heisman runner-up Darren McFadden and company to just 164 yards rushing, 133 yards fewer than their average per game.

Those numbers will stay on the books forever, but fans will remember the highlights: teammates Chase Daniel and Tyler Luellen carrying Tony Temple off the field after he topped both records with a 40-yard touchdown run (a run made with a pulled hamstring, no less); Coach Pinkel getting doused in Gatorade with senior captains and future legends Lorenzo Williams and Martin Rucker by his side; and an exuberant Pinkel shouting “How ’bout those Tigers?” in the postgame interview, with a team destined for Mizzou football lore standing around him.

More: Mizzou Wire’s Cotton Bowl blog  

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