On Saturday, the #14 Missouri Tigers (10-2, 6-2) ran roughshod over the Kansas Jayhawks (3-9, 1-7) in their annual border showdown at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City for their 10th win of the season. The final score was 35-7. Four different Missouri ball-carriers rushed for a total of five TDs. Missouri now leads in the all-time series, with a 56-54-9 advantage.
For Missouri, this is the third year in the last four that the Tigers have won 10 games, and only the fourth time in the school's history. It's also the third year out of the last four that Missouri has won at least a share of the north division title. And, Missouri's senior class extended their school record win total to 40 wins over the past four years.
"I'm real proud of our football team," said an obviously pleased Coach Pinkel. "Forty wins over the last four years. That in itself, will put you probably top 10, or top 8, in the nation, as far as winning."
Missouri got on the board early, taking the opening kick-off, and driving 69 yards in 10 plays, before De'Vion Moore took it in from the 3-yard line, to put Missouri ahead to stay at 7-0.
After Missouri's defense pushed Kansas backward on their first possession, T.J. Moe capped off a 6-play 36-yard drive, with a 2-yard TD run around the left side.
The Tigers pushed their lead to 21-0, when Kendial Lawrence scored from 31 yards out, to complete a 4-play 59-yard second quarter drive.
On the day, Missouri ran the ball for 218 yards (4.7 yards/carry) and 5 TDs, and Blaine Gabbert finished the day 16-26-2 (62%) for 179 yards passing (11.2 yards/completion). Kendial Lawrence led the TB-by-committee against Kansas, with 75 yards (7.5 yards/carry) and a TD. Moore scored twice, and Gabbert and T.J. Moe also made their way into the end zone.
The Missouri defense appeared to be headed for their second straight shutout, but experienced a little bit of a let down, up 21-0 at the half. Kansas drove the second half opening kick-off down the field, for their lone score, on a 13-play 46-yard drive that culminated with James Sims' 3-yard run. Union, Missouri native Jordan Webb converted three third downs on the Jayhawks' scoring drive.
"When (Kansas) did score," said Coach Pinkel. "We came back, and our offense went right down and scored. To me, that was the answer that we needed at that time."
Missouri drove the ball 73 yards, on 11 plays, before Gabbert sneaked it in from the 1-yard line, to put Missouri ahead 28-7, as the 3rd quarter wound down. In the 4th quarter, after Carl Gettis collected Missouri's third interception of the day, the Tigers again drove the football down the field, this one a 7-play 48-yard drive that Moore capped off from the 5-yard line, with his 2nd TD on the day.
Missouri was heavily penalized on the day, mostly on the interception returns, and in the return game.
Coach Pinkel talked about how he's been able to manage games differently in the fourth quarter this season, because he has a defense that he trusts to hold onto leads. He's been able to utilize field position as a strategy, and run the football to shorten the game, and to protect the football.
The Tigers will now await the Bowl Selection process to discover where they will conclude their season, and for the record-setting seniors, their Missouri careers.