clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Mizzou 25: Larry Smith Regional (Semifinal #2)

New, 7 comments

UPDATE: Called after 98 votes. Chase wins it, 75%-24%. We love you, MotherRucker.

One round is 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.

Today, we tackle the rest of the Larry Smith Regional.

3/17: William Moore vs Brad Smith
3/18: Martin Rucker vs Chase Daniel

Martin Rucker vs Chase Daniel

vs

2004-07

2005-08

Stats
  1. 263 receiving yards, 4 TDs
  1. 567 receiving yards, 1 TD
  1. 511 receiving yards, 5 TDs
  1. 834 receiving yards, 8 TDs

Record: 32-18
Bowl Wins: 2

Stats
  1. 347 passing yards, 57 rushing yards, 2 total TDs
  1. 3527 passing yards, 379 rushing yards, 32 total TDs
  1. 4306 passing yards, 253 rushing yards, 37 total TDs

Record: 27-12
Bowl Wins: 2

The Boy: Martin Rucker is a Husker legacy. His brother, Mike, was an All-American in Lincoln, and most NU fans assumed they'd end up with Mike's baby brother. But 'T' decided to create his own legacy.

MotherRucker is a leader in every possible connotation of the word. He is a leader on and off the field. In 2007, if the team needed someone to make a catch, he made it. If the team needed a big block, he made it. If the team needed a runner to carry four defenders for a first down, he did it. After hearing from the NFL draft committee that he needed to improve his toughness during his senior season, MotherRucker quite simply became one of the toughest runners I’ve ever seen. He found it a personal offense when only one guy tried to tackle him.

Never mind that Martin Rucker was an All-American tight end, and never mind that he leaves Mizzou with over 2100 career receiving yards and 18 TDs. He was a no-brainer for the Larry Smith Regional because no player has ever led by example more than he did in his four years in Columbia. He overtook a strong incumbent tight end to start from Day One. He yelled and screamed on the sidelines at the 2005 Independence Bowl and told anybody who would listen that Mizzou was going to come back and win (and they did). He turned his biggest weakness into his biggest strength for his senior year. He made this his team, and he was one of the biggest individual reasons why Mizzou won more games in 2007 than in any other year in their history.
The Boy: Chase Daniel is quite simply the realization of all the hope we’ve ever had for a Mizzou player or a Mizzou team. We wanted Corby Jones or Brad Smith to get Heisman hype, and Daniel finished fourth in the Heisman voting in 2007. We yearned for Corby’s teams and Brad’s teams to break through that 8-win barrier and put together a memorable season with as few "What If’s" as possible...and under Daniel’s guidance, Mizzou simply went out and won 12 games in 2007, earning its first #1 ranking in 47 years in the process.

If Brad Smith saved the Pinkel Era with his performance in the 2005 Independence Bowl, Chase Daniel saved the moment that saved the Pinkel Era. With Smith strug-a-ling mightily against Iowa State and stinging from a cheap shot, Daniel entered the game with Mizzou down 10. Two no-huddle drives later, it was tied. And one OT period after that, Mizzou had won. They wouldn't have qualified for a bowl without that win. It was at that moment that people realized, "Hey...I sure am gonna miss Brad Smith, but I think our future's pretty bright." (That's what I was saying, anyway...ahem.)

There's really no need to rehash much of the last two years, is there? Almost 8500 total yards and 70 TDs? 20 wins? A New Year's Day bowl? A #1 ranking? The highest expectations ever for a Mizzou team (in 2008)? You know the story. You're along for the ride. This short, squatty gunslinger from Southlake has transformed the Mizzou program, and he's not done yet.