Another Great Memory From Missouri

I really don't hide my feelings. I like Missouri and I love following Oklahoma State to Columbia to play football there. Yes, I have also been there for men's and women's basketball and it is all good. But a fall day like the one Saturday where the sun is shining, the trees outside the south end zone are showing leaves of wide ranging color and the cool crisp air is perfect for college football.

There is an attitude here, make that an ambiance that just radiates college football. I have seen so many competitive games here between the Pat Jones and Mike Gundy led Cowboys, the Tony Lindsay Cowboys, Josh Fields too, and more recently in 2008 the win led by Zac Robinson and company and now Brandon Weeden.

On this day at Mizzou, the national media, many of them, were picking the Cowboys to be an upset victim and their unbeaten record and BCS status to go spiraling downward. Those media members never apologize, and sometimes don't even admit to being wrong, but they owe Gundy and his Cowboys at least an acknowledgement of their poor judgment. While they are at it they may want to change their tune on the Oklahoma State defense.

Sure, the Cowboys gave up 463 yards of total offense, far from shutting down the Tigers. Missouri ran for 248 yards on 52 carries for 4.8 yards per carry. However, when the NCAA stats are released on Sunday the Cowboys will likely be tops in the nation in turnover margin thanks to another big day with four gained and just one lost on a Weeden interception. Every time it got tight, too close for comfort, the Cowboys defense acted. Wilson Youman, the Cowboys part time offensive player and part time defender, made a huge play for the second week in a row in defense as he laid out to poke the ball out of the arms of quarterback James Franklin and linebacker Shaun Lewis recovered to snuff a third quarter would be Missouri scoring march. Then late in the game interceptions by Lewis, Brodrick Brown, and Richetti Jones kept the Tigers off the scoreboard and repeatedly allowed the Cowboys offense a chance to put the game away which they finally did.

On all three of those interceptions defensive end Jamie Blatnick was either in the face of Franklin pressuring the young quarterback or in the case of Jones interception he actually batted the ball allowing Jones to bobble around with it before controlling it.

"You know he has skillet hands," said Blatnick of his fellow defense end.

"That's okay, I caught it and now I have my first interception ever," said a happy Jones. "I've never had one in high school, junior high, middle school, or little league but it is great to get my first."

While the national media never seems to struggle with complimenting the Cowboys break neck pace offense, they do find it hard to say anything really glowing about the defense. Blatnick and Jones really don't care.

"They can say what they want," said Blatnick. "It doesn't matter. What matters is that we go out and get stops, get off the field, get turnovers, and get the job done."

"Hey, those turnovers are important," added Jones. "We don't care about what the national media things, but we know the guys that are here and see all of each game know what our defense is about. We're all about turnovers. That is what our defense is built on and that we emphasize and we are doing a pretty good job of it."

They are also having the time of their lives. So is their fellow senior and quarterback Brandon Weeden. Weeden, upset somewhat with himself for not being as sharp as he would have liked at Texas and upset that a 12-point win on the road at Texas over a ranked team draws hefty criticism of the offense and the offensive coordinator, was very focused in practice this week. Is that a correct observation?

"Yes, I really wanted to come out and play well," said Weeden. "I didn't think I was as sharp as I could be last week. I was really focused this week in practice."

Weeden came out brilliant with a first quarter of 19-of-25 and from all accounts in the press box he could have started 26-of-26 today. Oddly enough, Dominick Davis of East Carolina did start out 26-of-26 to set an NCAA record for consecutive completions to start a game.

Weeden spread the ball around and was as good as we all expect him to be. The drops are another issue and according to Mike Gundy will be worked on again this week.

Like all those other successful quarterbacks, Weeden now has his Missouri moment and it came in the face of the national college football media that has to eat some crow over their "upset alerts."

As for me, I have another Missouri memory. As I walked off Faurot Field adjacent to some very happy Cowboys, I stopped and turned around and stared at the scene, at the block M on the other end of the stadium and I said to a Missouri administrator standing next to me, "I will really miss this place. This is special. This series has been special. I don't know what you guys are doing, but you don't belong in the SEC. You are one of us and you always will be and I will miss Missouri."

The two Missouri administrators looked at me, somewhat surprised, and said, "Thanks."

I'm sure that was for my comment and not for another loss at the hands of the Cowboys. Just like with Texas A&M, the memories will be sweet, just like this season so far.


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