December 29, 2008: Missouri 30, Northwestern 23
The 2008 season didn't work out how Mizzou wanted it to, with the Tigers rising to No. 2 in the country but going just 4-4 down the stretch of the regular season. But it could have been worse; they could have lost the Alamo Bowl, too. While all of Mizzou's fanbase screamed "Okay, Chase Daniel HAS to be hurt or something!" at the same time, Daniel suffered through one of the worst first halves of his career, completing 14 of 20 passes but gaining just 95 yards and throwing two interceptions. Solid defensive play kept the Tigers close, but Northwestern led 10-3 late in the first half.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they kicked to Jeremy Maclin. With one minute left in the second quarter, Maclin fielded a punt at his 25 yard line and raced 75 yards for the game-tying touchdown. That lit a bit of a fire, so to speak. The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter, then Jeff Wolfert nailed a 43-yard field goal. But Northwestern's C.J. Bacher found Ross Lane for a 23-yard touchdown, and Northwestern took a 23-20 advantage into the fourth quarter.
Chase Daniel's first eight pass attempts of the fourth quarter: INC, INC, sack, 13 yards to Chase Coffman, INC, INC, INC, INC. It began to look like the careers of Daniel, Coffman, Maclin, and other impact seniors were going to end with a fifth loss in nine games. But Daniel hit Coffman for a 16-yard gain on third-and-10 to get Mizzou within field goal range. Wolfert hit a 37-yard field goal with 2:49 left, and the game was tied.
Mizzou would get the ball back just over a minute later, and after passes to Coffman, Tommy Saunders, and Danario Alexander and a facemask penalty, Wolfert would get a chance to win the game in regulation, but he missed a 44-yarder wide right.
No matter. The final pass of Daniel's career would be a 10-yard touchdown strike to Maclin. And in the final two plays of William Moore's career, he recorded a huge third-down sack and a break-up in the end zone. Mizzou would pull off a strange, frustrating, incredibly worthwhile 30-23 win.
September 12, 2009: Missouri 27, Bowling Green 20
The Blaine Gabbert era began with an easier-than-expected 37-9 win over Illinois. But in his second game succeeding Daniel, things turned in the other direction. Bowling Green took a 13-0 lead over Mizzou as Gabbert began the game 4-for-10 for five yards, with an 18-yard sack thrown in. And even when things improved, they only improved so much. Grant Ressel hit two field goals (from 38 and 46 yards) to get Mizzou to within 13-6 at halftime, but BGSU scored on the opening drive of the second half to give the Falcons a stunning 20-6 lead.
The teams traded punts, then Mizzou finally got untracked. Derrick Washington ripped off an 18-yard run on third-and-10 to advance to the BGSU 27, then Gabbert threw a lovely fade to Jared Perry for a score to cut the deficit to 20-13 late in the third quarter. BGSU punted, and Gabbert hit Wes Kemp for a 33-yard touchdown to tie the game with 10 minutes remaining. And after another Falcon punt, Mizzou moved 61 yards in eight plays, taking the lead on a one-yard Washington run. In two desperation drives, BGSU couldn't get the ball past midfield, and Mizzou held on.
Mizzou offense, first 40 minutes: 46 plays, 127 yards, 6 points
Mizzou offense, last 20 minutes: 31 plays, 226 yards, 21 points
November 28, 2009: Missouri 41, Kansas 39
Take it away, ZouDave and Bill Carter.
September 4, 2010: Missouri 23, Illinois 13
The 2010 season was probably Gary Pinkel's third-best at Missouri, behind 2007 and 2013 and just about even with 2008. But it was pocked with near-disasters in September. Against an outmanned Illinois team that was starting a redshirt freshman at quarterback (Nathan Scheelhaase), Mizzou found itself down 13-3 at halftime. The Tigers continuously got in their own way, first losing a fumble at the Illinois 35, then missing a 36-yard field goal, then settling for another field goal after a first down from the Illinois 13.
But as was often the case with Gabbert behind center, Mizzou settled down in the second half. Gabbert hit T.J. Moe for a 10-yard score to make it 13-10 early in the third quarter, and with Illinois' offense completely out of steam, Mizzou flipped the field; it eventually paid off. Michael Egnew scored on a six-yard touchdown reception to give Mizzou a 17-13 lead early in the fourth quarter, and two more Ressel field goals finally put the game out of reach. Mizzou held Illinois to 281 yards -- 196 on the first five drives, 85 on the last eight -- and moved to 1-0.
Of course, the dramatics were only getting started for this team.
September 18, 2010: Missouri 27, San Diego State 24
October 23, 2010: Missouri 36, Oklahoma 27