Mizzou 25: Harold "Spider" Burke Regional (Semifinal #1)

UPDATE, 9:12am (Saturday) - That didn't take long.  Pig leads by 5, and I'm calling it.

UPDATE, 8:53am (Saturday) - Pig leads by only 4, so I'm keeping the vote open a little longer.  Any Devin holdouts better emerge pretty quickly.

Two rounds are almost in the books for Mizzou 25, the tournament to decide the best, most influential, most likable Mizzou athlete of the past 25 years!

Mizzou 25 is set up in four 8-athlete regions: the Norm Stewart Region (basketball), the Larry Smith Region (football), the Joann Rutherford Region (all sports), and the Harold "Spider" Burke Region (fan favorites).  To see where the bracket currently stands, click here.

Two Elite Eight slots remain (or will shortly, once Hunter-Scherzer has some separation...vote if you haven't!)!  Here are the Spider Burke matchups.

3/21: Pig Brown vs Devin West
3/22: Demontie Cross vs Matt Pell

Today brings one of the more interesting matchups of the tourney...I have NO idea what to expect from this one...

Pig Brown vs Devin West

vs

2006-07

1995-98

Rptgwb: If you were to build a human out of the 2007 football team, it might look something like this: Chase Daniel was the face, Gary Pinkel the brains, Lorenzo Williams the mouth, William Moore the hands, and Martin Rucker/Chase Coffman the "juevos." But only one player was the heart: Pig Brown. Our fair Cornelius may have saved Mizzou's season on several occasions before anyone even knew how special of a season it would turn out to be. Against Illinois, his 100+ yard fumble return was a 14-point swing that completely changed the momentum of that game. Later, his interception iced it and gave Mizzou its signature non-conference win. Once conference play began, Pig was all over the field. Against Nebraska, his thundering (albeit illegal) hit on Maurice Purify helped set the tone in the secondary for the unit to become one of the most punishing in the Big 12. Against Texas Tech, where the physicality of his secondary became VERY apparent, Pig turned the "Air Raid" offense into his personal playground. He finished the day with 14 tackles, 4.5 of them for loss, as well as a pick and two breakups. His injury against Iowa State could have been devastating, but both Pig and the Tigers refused to let "Brian Smith syndrome" kill the momentum they'd built early in the season. His emotional contribution to his team and the program was actually most apparent when Gary Pinkel broke his own rule to allow the injured Pig to travel to road games, helping spur Mizzou to a 55-10 thumping of Colorado in Boulder. Pig may have only been on the field for eight games in only one year with Mizzou, but for a website that loves stats like "points per play," I'd be hard pressed to find someone with more "contribution to the program per appearance" than Pig Brown. The Boy: For his first three seasons at Mizzou, Devin West was part of a four-headed rushing monster in the backfield (along with Corby Jones, Brock Olivo, and Ernest Blackwell RIP).  He was like a colt at first--you could see an unbelievable amount of athletic ability in his 6'2, 220-pound frame, but it took him a while to get his legs to do what his brain told them.  He was one step away from returning a kickoff for TD about 16 different times, but never quite pulled it off.  Against Nebraska in '97, he broke a return out toward midfield, made the last guy in his way miss, then tripped over his own feet.  You could see a world of potential, but it hadn't quite been harnessed yet.  He had still managed 1,376 rushing yards the first three years of his tenure at Mizzou, but you could tell he had more to give.

Then came his senior season.  All I really need to say about 1998: 32 carries, 319 yards.

Actually, let's say a bit more.  When Corby Jones was severely limited due to turf toe halfway through '98, West began carrying more and more of the load.  Did he break down under pressure?  Nope...he said "hop on, boys", put the offense on his back, and posted a crazy 1,578 yards (143.5 per game) and 17 TDs (and an 18th via pass reception).  That year, he almost matched what Corby produced running and throwing.  We think back on the mid- to late-'90s as the Corby Years, and if we think of a second player, it's likely Brock Olivo.  But the person most responsible for what was then Mizzou's winningest season in 15 years (and first bowl win in 17) was #32.
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