COLUMBIA, Mo. -- A line of ordinary folks in green "Event Staff" shirts stood facing the Missouri student section late Saturday.
"You can't stop us!" the students chanted, and every time they did, one of the green shirts would glance back at the thinner line of actual law enforcement officers behind them with a look that pleaded, "You've got this, right?"
Even if his colleagues couldn't stop the outpouring of raging hormones from the stands, University of Missouri police officer
"He was real serious," Pinkel said. "He said, 'I want to know how you want to get off the field when we beat Oklahoma.'"
By the time Oklahoma's last lateral hit the field and the final whistle blew on Missouri's 36-27 upset of the No. 1 team in the BCS rankings, the students already covered one end zone. Then, they surged over Missouri's sideline and toward the Tiger logo at the 50-yard line. Moyer's first mission was to get Pinkel to Oklahoma coach
A fullback -- a good one, anyway -- hits his opponent in the mouth. That's exactly what the Tigers did Saturday to beat Oklahoma for the first time since 1998 and only the second time since 1983. This was not the finesse team that went 12-2 in 2007 with two losses to Oklahoma. This was not the soft bunch that got blown off the field by the Sooners in the 2008 Big 12 title game.
These Tigers have the same explosive passing game those Missouri teams did. Gabbert threw for 308 yards and one touchdown Saturday. The difference is these Tigers also can line up and pound the ball. Twice, Missouri converted must-get short-yardage situations by running in two extra offensive linemen, sticking them a yard behind each A-gap and daring Oklahoma to stop the surge.
These Tigers can play defense, too. Coordinator
Meanwhile, Gabbert's jersey remained almost spotless. He had what seemed like hours to dissect Oklahoma's coverages. "We weren't at all effective rushing the passer," Stoops said. "They kicked our butts there, too."
No one got
"We won," tight end
Said Pinkel: "It's big for the university, for our football program, for all those people out there in gold. ... If you want to notch your program up respect-wise, you've got to win games like this. We've fallen short a number of times."
The Tigers didn't fall short Saturday because they refused to break. Missouri struck first when
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If the Tigers sound awfully confident, it's because they are. Still, they understand these moments are fleeting. Two weeks ago, South Carolina knocked off No. 1 Alabama and took control of the SEC East. The Gamecocks promptly lost at Kentucky the following Saturday. Missouri next task is even tougher than that. The Tigers must face Nebraska in Lincoln. "That's our challenge," Pinkel said. "Once you watch the Nebraska film, it's obvious."
But for one night, Pinkel allowed the Tigers to enjoy their history-making win. As he spoke, the crowd dispersed, headed for Harpo's or anywhere else where hops-and-barley-flavored beverages flowed. The man who shepherded Pinkel through that crowd stood off to the side and explained why he began working up Pinkel's escape plan two weeks earlier. "I don't know if you've been paying attention," Moyer said, "but I felt like this was our best chance since I've been with the police department to beat Oklahoma."
Later, Moyer spoke of a day when the Tigers might be so good that Pinkel won't need an escape plan if Missouri beats No. 1. "It needs to become an everyday thing," Moyer said. "Doesn't it?"