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November 2011 Archives

A Look Back at Memorable Tiger Goal Line Stands

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Last Saturday's last-minute thriller over Texas Tech came down to a dramatic goal-line stand, and when the fluttering ball nestled into the loving arms of Michael Sam for the game-winning interception at the Tiger 4-yardline, my vertical jump, measured normally at about six inches, must have increased to well over 9 ½ inches.  From my perch just behind the south end zone on the field, that ball hung in the air seemingly forever, but when Sam corralled it, there were lots of high fives and hugs taking place on the sideline, and in the stands, I'm sure.

The way we won that game got me to wondering, when was the last time the Tigers won a game on a goal-line stand?  If it seems like it's been a little while, you're right, it has been, at least in terms of a true goal-line stand.  The last time Mizzou won a game with a defensive stop on a play that originated from inside the MU 10-yardline was back in 2004 at Iowa State.  The other instances I have found from the Big 12 era include two other overtime games - 1997 at Oklahoma State and 1996 vs. Oklahoma State in Columbia.  Again, this is only on plays that were snapped from inside the MU 10-yardline, and don't count game-saving/game-ending interceptions or other types of plays such as the 2008 Alamo Bowl when William Moore batted down a desperation Hail Mary by Northwestern in the endzone to end that overtime win.  It also doesn't include another last-minute win in 2008, when Brock Christopher intercepted a Baylor pass on the Bear 34-yardline with 1:40 to play to preserve a 31-28 win.  There are many other last-minute wins over the years, but I'm talking about the ones which truly count as a goal-line stand.

Here's a look back at those instances, dating back through the Big 12 era...

2011 vs. Texas Tech - Leading 31-27 (after trailing 14-0 in the 1st quarter, and 27-17 entering the 4th), Mizzou saw Tech march downfield quickly into the redzone, and with a full complement of time outs, the Red Raiders had a 1st-and-10 at the Tiger 11-yardline with :44 seconds left.  A short pass in the left flat went for four yards and Tech was forced to used its first timeout (a key development) as two Tigers were there to stop the play for a four-yard gain to the MU 7, with :37 seconds left.  What happened next would send joy throughout Memorial Stadium, as Tech QB Seth Doege's attempted pass over the middle was deflected at the line of scrimmage by the big paws of DT Dominique Hamilton and intercepted at the 4-yardline by DE Michael Sam.  Mizzou took three knees, as Tech used their two remaining timeouts, but the third snap burned the clock and gave Mizzou its sixth win to attain bowl eligibility for a school-record 7th straight season...

2004 at Iowa State - This was Brad Smith's junior season, and the year had turned into a disappointing one.  The Tigers opened the year 4-1 but a five-game losing streak ensued to knock that record to 4-6 and put the team out of bowl contention (the schedule was only 11 games that season).  With nothing left to play for but pride, the Tigers went to Ames, Iowa, to take on the Iowa State Cyclones, who needed only a win to claim the Big 12 North Division title outright and gain a berth into their first-ever Big 12 Championship Game.  The Cyclones were heavy favorites, but the Tigers were game from the start, and held a 14-7 lead midway through the 4th quarter before ISU tied it up, and then later missed a 24-yard field goal to force overtime.  In the extra period, Mizzou had the ball first, and got as far as the Cyclone 7-yardline before having to settle for a 25-yard field goal from Adam Crossett to take a 17-14 lead.  Iowa State took four plays to reach the Mizzou 3-yardline, where they had a 1st-and-goal and tons of momentum, just three measly yards away from their first conference title of any kind in football since 1912.  Mizzou safety Nino Williams crashed hard on a run by ISU RB Stevie Hicks to hold him to no gain on 1st down, and then safety Jason Simpson forced Hicks out of bounds on the edge on 2nd down for what was a three-yard loss.  Facing 3rd-and-goal from the 6, QB Bret Meyer tried to hit TE Jon Davis in the right corner of the end zone, but Mizzou's A.J. Kincade snagged the ball for an interception to end the game, dash Iowa State's title game dreams, and send the Tigers out on a high note in what was a tough last month of the season...

1997 at Oklahoma State - One of the classic games in the last half-century of Tiger football, as the Tigers went to Stillwater and upset the 12th-ranked Cowboys in double overtime by a 51-50 score.  It was a game of huge momentum swings, as the Tigers gave up the first score of the game but then scored 30 straight points to hold a commanding 30-7 lead after a 23-yard touchdown run by Corby Jones to open the 3rd quarter.  But the Cowboys wouldn't go away, and they put up 30 straight points of their own to take a 37-30 lead with about two minutes to play.  Jones answered though, and hit Ricky Ross on a 38-yard TD pass with around :30 seconds left to send it into overtime.  After the teams traded TDs in the first overtime period, Mizzou got the ball first in the second OT session, and took a 51-44 lead on a 15-yard run by Corby Jones, followed by Scott Knickman's PAT.  The Cowboys answered with a 6-yard TD run to pull to withing 51-50, and here's where the goal-line stand came into play: OSU chose to go for two points and the win.  The Cowboys lined up for two in a swinging gate formation, but as OSU's Tony Lindsey dropped to pass, he was flushed out of the pocket by Tiger DE Marquis Gibson.  Fellow linemen Donnell Jones and Brian Cracraft were able to hem Lindsey in and tackle him short of the goal line as he tried to run it in for the game-winning score.  Instead, the Tiger defense had made a game-winning stop to improve to 5-3 on the year and win on the road against a ranked opponent - a feat which wouldn't be accomplished by a Tiger team until 2011...

1996 at Oklahoma State - Mizzou claimed a 35-28 win in the first overtime game ever played at MU.  The overtime rule had been put in place for the 1995 bowl game season, and it was adopted in full for the 1996 season.  Had it not been in place, this game would have ended in a 28-28 tie when the Cowboys tied the game up at 28-28 on a 15-yard TD pass from Tone Jones to Andre Richardson with :37 seconds left in regulation.  Mizzou got the ball first in overtime and scored in three plays, as Corby Jones ran for four yards, and that was followed by a 13-yard run by Brock Olivo, and then an 8-yard score by Olivo for a 35-28 lead.  Oklahoma State took over, needing a TD and PAT to tie, or a TD and 2-point conversion to win.  They quickly got into position, as they reached the Tiger four-yardline.  Eventually, OSU faced a 4th and goal from the 4.  On the 4th-down play, the Tigers caught a break when Jones threw the ball in the flat toward a wide-open Richardson, who only had to catch the ball and waltz into the endzone.  Richardson, however, just flat out dropped the ball, and when the pigskin fell harmlessly to the grass, the Tigers were victorious in their first overtime game.  Fast forward to 2011, and Mizzou's 10 alltime overtime wins is most in the NCAA...

 

Time Out With Tori

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Happy Thanksgiving! This holiday season has really made me think about all that I am thankful for.  One main thing that comes to mind is how thankful I am for having such a large, supporting family.  I truly have one of the best.  I also consider my team part of that family.  I am surrounded by some of the best people every day and I am so thankful for the opportunity to be apart of this program.  I know I have been greatly blessed.

This past week, I asked all of my teammates what they were thankful for.  The majority of answers were that they were thankful for the team.  I think that's a pretty special thing, knowing that a group of girls is thankful to be in each other's lives.  But here are all of their responses when asked what they were thankful for:

Bre Brock:  I'm thankful for the constant support of family and friends and for being able to say I'm apart of the MU women's basketball team.

Liz Smith: I'm thankful for having such wonderful teammates.

Paige Spietz: All of the wonderful people that I'm surrounded by everyday and the opportunity to be a Tiger!

Sydney Crafton: I'm thankful for my family, the opportunity to play at Mizzou and the coaching staff.

Kyley Simmons:  I'm thankful for my family and team and coaches.

Bre Fowler:  I'm thankful for life, family and having a sense of humor.

Liene Priede: I'm thankful for my health, my friends and family, and everything else.

Maggie Flynn:  I'm thankful for the gift to play basketball and the family God gave me.

Kendra Frazier:  I'm thankful for my teammates.

Christine Flores:Basketball and with a wonderful group of girls at that. 

Morgan Eye: I'm thankful for my family, friends and teammates and my home town.  They send me a lot of love.

Bailey Gee: I'm thankful for my teammates and this second opportunity I was given after recovering from my knee injury.

 

Peace, Love and Basketball.

 

Tori Niemann 

Time Out with Tori

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2-0!! Our first road trip was a success in many ways.  We had a great flight to San Antonio and Thursday night our team went to Christine's house and had a great meal.  Her parents made brisket, chicken, beans, pasta salad and some other great tasting dishes.  After dinner, we all roasted marshmallows in the fire pit in the Flores's backyard.  Then on Friday we beat UTSA! After the game, we drove to Corpus Christi.  It was kind of a late night getting to the hotel, but when we woke up on the bus, we awoke to a view of the Gulf of Mexico.  It doesn't get much better than that.  Our hotel was right on the water and we had an awesome view from our rooms.  On Saturday, we beat Corpus Christi! After beating Corpus Christi, we ate dinner as a team at a restaurant called Tavern on the Bay.  It was an awesome little place and we actually ate our meal on a floating dock right on the water.  The weather could not have been more perfect the whole trip.  We were in t-shirts and shorts the entire time.

As a team, I think we became even closer.  We already have a close-knit team, but this trip was a lot of fun and allowed for a lot of bonding.  There were multiple times where all you could hear was laughter.  A lot of great memories were made in Texas!   

This week we play St. Louis University Wednesday night in St. Louis and North Florida Sunday at home!

Peace, Love and Basketball.

Tori Niemann

Time Out with Tori

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Game day! One more exhibition and then it really starts! Having our first game last week was such a good feeling for all of us.  Game day is always a good time for all of us.  It's always fun to put all of the time that we've put into practice, to work.   

We're all excited for our first road trip of the year!  We fly out of St. Louis Thursday to go to San Antonio.  I think the plan is to go to Christine's house in San Antonio Thursday night, and her parents are going to cook us a meal.  I know her mom is excited and I know I'm looking forward to it too!

Sunday night, most of our team attended the MU press conference about moving to the SEC.  It was great to hear from a few of our leaders and to be apart of something that was so full of Mizzou spirit!  All of us support MU's decision and look forward to the opportunity ahead!

Peace, Love and Basketball.

Tori Niemann

Time Out with Tori

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This past Friday, our team got the chance to work a basketball clinic for the Special Olympics.  It was an awesome night!  We met some pretty amazing people and the night was full of laughter and high fives.  There were about 120 participants and we went through a couple of stations and there was scrimmaging at the end of the night.  It was a ton of fun for everyone.  At the end of the night, all of us felt blessed to have had the opportunity to be apart of such a special night.

 

This past weekend, Paige went back home with me to Canton.  We had a great day outdoors.  We rode horses and the four wheeler after watching the football game! By the way, what an awesome game!!  I even helped one of our Amish neighbor's goats get it's head out of the fence.  It was a great day out in the country!

 

Peace, Love and Basketball.

 

Tori Niemann