12:40 PM ET, November 29, 2008
Arrowhead Stadium, KANSAS CITY, MO
He got hit so hard during the game that his eyes rolled up in his head, making his coach think he had been knocked out. He spent the postgame in the training room getting stitches for a gash in his hand.
• In the 117th meeting between the schools, the second-most played rivalry in FBS history, a 26-yard touchdown strike from Todd Reesing to Kerry Meier on 4th and 7 gave Kansas a measure of revenge for last season, when Missouri knocked an 11-0 Jayhawks team out of the national title race.
• The win ensures back-to-back winning seasons for Kansas for the first time since 1994-95, back-to-back non-losing seasons in conference play for the first time since 1980-81, and 11 conference wins in their past two seasons, matching their total from the previous five seasons combined (11-29).
• Reesing threw for four TDs and 375 yards. His 3,575 yards this season are a school record, passing his mark from last season.
• Missouri kicker Jeff Wolfert missed a 54-yard FG as time expired, cementing Missouri's first loss in their last 11 games vs. the Big 12 North.
-- ESPN research
Didn't matter. Reesing wasn't about to give up and neither were the rest of his injured teammates.
Reesing threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Meier with 27 seconds left, helping Kansas rally twice in the fourth quarter to beat No. 13 Missouri on Saturday.
The Jayhawks (7-5, 4-4 Big 12) led by 16 early in the third quarter, let Missouri back in it, then traded touchdowns with the Tigers in the fourth quarter before Reesing hit Meier on fourth-and-7.
Not bad for a team that spent almost as much time in the training room as the practice field last week.
"Our injury list, a roll of toilet paper wouldn't be enough," Kansas coach Mark Mangino said. "We've got guys that played today that could barely walk a week ago. It's the guttiest performance I've ever been associated with as a coach. Our kids heard all week long we didn't have a chance. Never tell KU they don't have a chance."
Missouri (9-3, 5-3) figured to have it easy against its border rival. The Tigers already secured a return trip to Arrowhead Stadium for next week's Big 12 Championship game and were facing a team that had lost four of its previous five.
The Jayhawks just wouldn't let Missouri coast into the postseason, dominating most of the first half, answering every score in a back-and-forth fourth quarter.
Seven days from playing from a conference title, the Tigers have no choice but to bounce back.
"This hurts right now, especially because it is Kansas, especially because it is a rivalry game, but we've got redemption next week," Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel said. "We're in the championship game, not Kansas, not Kansas State, not Baylor."
Missouri found its rhythm in the second half, getting within a field goal after a pair of touchdown passes by Daniel.
Then the fireworks started.
Daniel hit Chase Coffman for his second touchdown, a 6-yarder with just under 7 minutes left that put Missouri up 30-26. Reesing answered 3½ minutes later with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Meier to put the Jayhawks back on top.
Missouri got the ball back, then quickly marched down the field for a 6-yard touchdown run by Derrick Washington that made it 37-33. The Tigers left too much time on the clock, though. Kansas got the ball with 1:50 and moved 67 yards for the 26-yard touchdown from Reesing to Meier.
Missouri still wasn't done, moving to Kansas' 36 in three plays set up a 54-yard field goal attempt. Kicker Jeff Wolfert made good contact, but Kansas safety Phillip Strozier partially blocked it and the ball fell harmlessly to the turf, finally ending one of the wildest games in the 117-game history of the Border Showdown.
"Just to know the stage we were on, and to know the team and the odds we were going up against -- it's one of the guttiest wins for this team," said KU safety Darrell Stuckey, who had two interceptions, a forced fumble and recovered a fumble.
Reesing had a lot to do with it.
Playing through a variety of injuries, the junior quarterback finished 37-for-51 for 375 yards, with four touchdowns and two interceptions. He threw two touchdown passes to Meier, who had a school-record 14 catches for 106 yards.
Reesing also broke four school records -- completions (302), attempts (460), total yards (3,683) and yards passing (3,575) in a season.
"His play was phenomenal," Mangino said. "I get this feeling when I watch him that you can almost see this competitive spirit radiate from him."
The same thing could be said for Daniel.
The senior threw two interceptions, lost a fumble and was sacked for a safety, but still put the Tigers in position to win. He had 391 total yards and threw for four touchdowns, including two to Coffman.
"We played as well as we have all season in the second half," Daniel said. "We just ran out of chances to win."
Last year's game was one of the biggest of the college football season: No. 2 Kansas against No. 4 Missouri, winner earns a spot in the Big 12 Championship game, national-title and Heisman hopes on the line.
This year's Border Showdown didn't have the same kind of juice, but turned out to be even more exciting at the end.
Missouri needed 16½ minutes to get a first down and Daniel started 0-for-6, throwing an interception on his third pass. He also fumbled at the end of a 54-yard run and was sacked in the end zone by Jake Laptad for a safety that put the Jayhawks up 12-7.
Kansas wasn't much better, settling for Jacob Branstetter's 34-yard field goal after starting its first drive on Missouri's 20, and Reesing threw a bad interception in the end zone.
It all changed in the second half, turning a dud into one of the best games in the nation's second-longest rivalry.
"It's the Border War, what else can you say?" Reesing said. "To win it like we did and have everyone play well from top to bottom like they did, it was huge."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Missouri kicker Jeff Wolfert's 54-yard attempt at the buzzer was partially blocked by the Jayhawks.
Gameball goes to... Todd Reesing. The KU QB threw for 375 yards and four TDs, including the game-winner with 27 seconds left.
Stat of the game... 12-19. The Jayhawks converted 12 of their 19 third-down plays to keep the chains moving against the Tigers.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||12-19||7-12|
|4th Down Conversions||2-2||0-0|
|FG||13:06||Jacob Branstetter 34 Yd||3||0|
|TD||14:25||Dezmon Briscoe 9 Yd Pass From Todd Reesing (Jacob Branstetter Kick)||10||0|
|TD||10:19||Chase Coffman 5 Yd Pass From Chase Daniel (Jeff Wolfert Kick)||10||7|
|SF||06:16||Penalty On Chase Daniel In End Zone||12||7|
|TD||01:54||Dexton Fields 25 Yd Pass From Todd Reesing (Jacob Branstetter Kick)||19||7|
|FG||00:23||Jeff Wolfert 48 Yd||19||10|
|TD||10:29||Jake Sharp 19 Yd Run (Jacob Branstetter Kick)||26||10|
|TD||08:14||Jeremy Maclin 26 Yd Pass From Chase Daniel (Two-Point Conversion Failed)||26||16|
|TD||07:17||Tommy Saunders 35 Yd Pass From Chase Daniel (Jeff Wolfert Kick)||26||23|
|TD||06:52||Chase Coffman 6 Yd Pass From Chase Daniel (Jeff Wolfert Kick)||26||30|
|TD||04:26||Kerry Meier 8 Yd Pass From Todd Reesing (Jacob Branstetter Kick)||33||30|
|TD||01:50||Derrick Washington 6 Yd Run (Jeff Wolfert Kick)||33||37|
|TD||00:27||Kerry Meier 26 Yd Pass From Todd Reesing (Jacob Branstetter Kick)||40||37|