A few words with... Xzavie Jackson

The Missouri-Kansas rivalry, one of the matchups that coach Gary Pinkel on Monday said "makes college football great," is particularly salient for players that know both sides of the matchup. Sophomore DE Xzavie Jackson knows all about the rivalry and will get his second crack at the Jayhawks on Saturday.

Let's make one thing clear off the top: Xzavie Jackson is not a native Kansan.

He moved to Wichita from California in the summer of 2002 to live with his sister, a coach for the Wichita State women's basketball team. Jackson rose to prominence with on the football field and on the basketball court at Wichita Heights High, earning attention from a smattering of Big 12 schools, including Kansas.

Jackson, a sophomore defensive end, did not exactly trade a Jayhawk allegiance for black and old gold. Still, unlike redshirt freshman TE Josh Barbo, a Conway Springs, Kan. native, and freshman Brian Barmann, a Weston, Mo. native whose older brother, Adam, plays quarterback for the Jayhawks, Jackson sees his share of playing time, recording 2.5 sacks and 42 tackles this season, ranking sixth on the team.

Inside Mizzou spoke with Jackson about this weekend's matchup Monday afternoon…

On Kansas' interest in him: "They were recruiting me a little bit when I was in high school. They kind of dropped off because I couldn't get my (test) scores. I ended up here at Missouri, with a great opportunity to play them my second year in the program and my second year to play them."

On if he will have any extra motivation to face the program that backed off recruiting him: "Not really. A game's a game to me. I'm gonna go out there and play as hard as I can every snap."

On the importance of the Kansas game: "It's the biggest game because we have so much in front of us. We have a chance to do what we want to do, as a team and as a program. We just gotta go out there on Saturday and play as hard as we can. Everybody has to give their 120 percent -- not just their 110, their 120. We're doing this, not just for the fans, but as a younger guy, I'm doing this for the seniors. It's their last game at The Zou and against a rival team. I'm just gonna go out there and play hard for them."

On if he has any lingering frustration over last season's 35-14 loss to the Jayhawks: "Any motivation you can use, you're gonna use it, no matter what it is."

On Kansas' near upset of Texas last weekend: "That was a hard-fought matchup. Kansas got kind of screwed on that (offensive pass interference) penalty, but that's just how the game goes. (Unlike Kansas coach Mark Mangino), I can't say it's money, I can't say it's BCS, but they played a hard-fought game and they're gonna come into Columbia and play another hard-fought game."

On if he expected Kansas to play as well as they did against the Longhorns: "Oh yeah. Watching Kansas on TV during the year, they're a hard-fought team. Their defense plays well and their offense puts up points; when you average 23 points a game, the offense has to be doing something right. They're gonna battle."

On his expectations for Saturday: "We don't know, really, what's going to happen on Saturday. They might come out here and blow us out; we don't know. (A blowout is) possible every Saturday… You see what they did to Texas; they gave them a battle. We're just gonna play it as it goes."

On what a big loss to Kansas would do to the team: "It would be crushing for a lot of people, but that's just how God plays the cards. You have to play the cards that you're dealt."


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