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October 28, 1972: Mizzou 20, Colorado 17

October 28: #7 Colorado (6-1) at Mizzou (3-3)

Tommy Reamon dives to paydirt.

Through all the excitement of the previous week's season-saving win, a shadow loomed. Missouri would have to turn around and play great again to avoid falling right back below .500. The Buffs had shot into the Top 10 following a 20-14 upset of #2 Oklahoma the previous week, OU's only loss of 1972. They came to Columbia 6-1, with only a strange 31-6 loss to OSU marring a perfect record. Colorado was playing wonderfully under Eddie Crowder, who had taken over a rather moribund program in 1963 and slowly worked toward success. The Buffs had gone 10-2 in 1971 and now were looking even stronger.

It was Homecoming at Ol' Mizzou, and an energized fanbase stuck over 55,500 butts in the seats. Injuries would once again play a role--Mizzou's Leroy Moss, who had scored the first touchdown against Notre Dame, pulled a hamstring and was out, added to the long injury list in Mizzou's backfield. Meanwhile, CU's great junior back Charlie Davis had fallen into a television truck (???) against Oklahoma and was gimpy with an injured shoulder.

Things started well for Mizzou. They avoided an early hangover in a scoreless first quarter, and they surged forward in the second. A long Jimmy Smith run set up a Greg Hill field goal, and then Scott Pickens recovered a bad option pitch, setting up a 20-yard screen pass to Tommy Reamon, then a 1-yard Reamon touchdown dive. At halftime, it was 10-0 Mizzou, and the crowd was getting.

Things would start to pucker up a bit in the third quarter. Colorado marched down and scored to open the half; Davis went in from three yards out. CU's Steve Haggerty then returned a Jack Bastable punt 40 yards to set up another Colorado score; a nice third-down defensive play by Mike Fink made sure that the score was a field goal instead of a touchdown, and heading into the fourth quarter it was 10-10 with Mizzou driving.

Two Cherry passes to Bastable got Mizzou rolling to start the final 15 minutes. From the CU 7, the Buffs bought on a play-fake to Reamon, and Cherry found Jim Sharp for a go-ahead touchdown. CU's offense was rolling by this point, however. With 7:43 left, Bo Matthews scored from a yard out, and the Tigers and Buffs headed down the stretch tied at 17-17.

Thanks to solid performances from Reamon and the offensive line, Cherry was starting to come into his own. After the Tigers scored only two touchdowns in ten quarters between the Cal and Nebraska games, they had put up 30 points against Notre Dame, and after three scoring drives against Colorado (who had held OU to 14 points the week before), they rolled toward a fourth. With under 2:00 left, Hill lined up for a chip-shot, 22-yard go-ahead field goal. Hill had been clutch all year; the snap was great, the hold was great...and Hill missed. Granted, a tie wouldn't be the end of the world against such a good team, but the miss was still disappointing. However, Mizzou wasn't done.

Colorado went three-and-out on the ensuing drive, and John Moseley fair caught a CU punt at the Mizzou 45. After Cherry overthrew a wide-open Sharp streaking down the sideline, he responded with a tough 17-yard run. Two straight, first down runs by Reamon gave Hill one more chance to win the game with 0:06 left. I'll let the following pictures tell you what happened.

Hill's second game-winning kick of the season (he had beaten Oregon in Week 1) gave Mizzou not only a 4-3 record, but also back-to-back wins over Top 10 teams. Not only had Mizzou's 1972 season been on the verge of collapse just eight days earlier, but so was Al Onofrio's coaching tenure at Mizzou. Losses to Notre Dame and Colorado would have put Mizzou at 2-5, 3-15 in Onofrio's year-and-a-half in Columbia. But the Tigers had risen off the mat, and as October turned into November, Mizzou now had the pursuit of a bowl game to push them through the final month.

Mizzou 20, Colorado 17