With all of the change happening across the college football landscape, it is refreshing to see an old-school matchup on the docket for Mizzou this season. Tiger fans will get to make the voyage to the “Little Apple” for the first time since 2011, and it should be a game full of nostalgia and intrigue.
Overall Series Record: Mizzou 60-32-5
Last 5 Meetings:
2011: Kansas State 24 | Mizzou 17
2010: Mizzou 38 | Kansas State 28
2009: Mizzou 38 | Kansas State 12
2008: Mizzou 41 | Kansas State 24
2007: Mizzou 49 | Kansas State 32
Longest Win Streaks:
Mizzou: 16 (1939-1954)
K-State: 13 (1993-2005)
Largest Margins Of Victory:
Mizzou: 45-0 (1960)
K-State: 66-0 (1999)
#14 Missouri 41 | #12 Kansas State 38 (1969)
While this meeting between the two sides did not end up carrying as much national importance as first thought, it was still an incredible one to witness that had virtually everything.
The Tigers came into this one fresh off an upset loss at the hands of a hot Colorado team, knocking them out of the top 10. Still, Mizzou had a great chance at the Big 8 title and had a team that had proven they were capable of beating quality competition (easy wins over Michigan and Illinois preceded this one).
Kansas State had, up to this point, had a surprisingly successful campaign. The Wildcats were historically one of the most abysmal college football programs of all time yet found themselves in prime position to make the postseason for the first time ever. Their explosive offense had embarrassed nearly everyone on their schedule thus far.
And while Mizzou’s defense was known to be stout, they were torched for much of this game. Kansas State had 636 yards of total offense in the game, and they used all the tricks in the book to hang in this one. The Tigers led 21-6 at halftime and 28-12 in the 3rd quarter, and it looked like they would cruise to a victory. Terry McMillan was dealing from the QB spot, while Joe Moore continued to do what he had done all season and just punish the opposing defense on the ground.
Still, K-State hung in, and they made their push in the third quarter. The Wildcats had an 80-yard scoring drive that brought them back in it, and then a tricky onside kick that saw kicker Max Arreguin bend over to tie his shoes while another Wildcat ran up to kick it allowed the Cats to cut the lead to 4. On their next drive, it only took four plays for Kansas State to drive down the field and take a 31-28 lead. A 19-0 scoring run in the blink of an eye put the pressure on Mizzou to respond.
They would do so, answering back with two touchdowns of their own to extend the lead to ten. Kansas State’s quarterback Lynn Dickey was one of the best in the nation at the time, and he would not go quietly. After leading a scoring drive with 7:23 left, it seemed like Dickey was destined to lead another comeback. However, two late turnovers by the star QB allowed Mizzou to cling to the 41-38 victory.
The Tigers would go on to win the Big 8 and play in the Orange Bowl against Penn State. Kansas State would stumble down the stretch after this one, losing to Oklahoma State, Nebraska, and Colorado to end the season and, yet again, miss postseason play.
Regardless of the off-field implications, the on-field product of this game was incredible. Many who went claim it as the greatest college football game they have seen live, and the duel between McMillan and Dickey was electric from start to finish.
Top 3 Mizzou Performances:
- Jeremy Maclin (2008)
Stats: 278 all-purpose yards, 3 touchdowns
Mr. Maclin really enjoyed playing Kansas State. He followed up a record-breaking 2007 performance with virtually the same game against the ‘Cats. This time he did it with more effort on the ground, rushing for 84 yards and a TD, highlighted by a 56-yard scamper.
2. Jeremy Maclin (2007)
Stats: 252 all-purpose yards, 3 touchdowns
Yeah, he was that good. It was another sluggish start in a must-win game for the Tigers in this one, but Maclin provided the necessary spark. He was untouchable this day, setting the NCAA single-season freshman yards record with his performance.
3. Blaine Gabbert (2010)
Stats: 208 passing yards, 89 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns
It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but Blaine Gabbert willed the Tigers to a ranked win in this one. It was a back-and-forth affair throughout the first half, but Gabbert led the way with his legs to push this team forward and finish unbeaten at home by a score of 38-28.
What This Game Means In 2022:
So here’s where we sit now. These two sides have not met since 2011. During that time, Mizzou has had its fair share of ups and downs in the SEC, while Kansas State remained a consistently pesky and well-coached team that has been a lock for 7-8 wins every season. These are two programs looking to escape the seemingly endless realm of mediocrity in college football. The loser will likely remain trapped there for quite some time.
Hopes are high in both Columbia and Manhattan. The talent level for the Tigers is the best it has been in quite some time, and if the QB situation can be sorted out, this is a team capable of competing with nearly everyone on their schedule. For K-State, the Wildcats return star tailback Deuce Vaughn and a host of other major contributors. The key for them will also be quarterback, where Nebraska transfer Adrian Martinez will look to salvage a rocky collegiate career.
On paper, this is a tough one to call. These teams are evenly matched on both sides, and both have question marks at the signal caller spot. Therefore, it’s a safe bet to make that whichever team has the more reliable quarterback in this game will end up winning.
In the bigger picture, this game means a lot. A swing game like this can go a long way in determining if you make a bowl game or not, especially for a Mizzou program that has such little margin for error with their schedule. Kansas State could lose this game and likely still manage just fine, but a win here would really bring some national attention to Manhattan. A lot will be on the line, and the loser will be faced with a plethora of questions as they venture into conference play.
Note: Mizzou will host Kansas State in 2023 as well. And, who knows? With all of the conference realignment happening in the foreseeable future, maybe we’ll get to see this matchup more than just twice.