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Originally published November 30, 2008 at 12:00a.m., updated November 30, 2008 at 11:37a.m.

Keegan

Reesing, Meier draw winning play in sand

Kansas receiver Kerry Meier flashes a smile as he runs in what proved to be the winning touchdown against Missouri late in the fourth quarter Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008 at Arrowhead Stadium.

Kansas receiver Kerry Meier flashes a smile as he runs in what proved to be the winning touchdown against Missouri late in the fourth quarter Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008 at Arrowhead Stadium.

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2008 KU-MU football

— A platoon of coaches on both sides watching two solid weeks of football game film from sunup to way past sundown. Memorizing formations. Devising schemes. Constantly studying. Boiling it down and drilling it into the heads of the players.

And in the end it came down to the best kid on the block drawing a play in the sand in his head and the kid he picked first when choosing up sides reading that play in the sand in his head from a quarter of a football field away Saturday afternoon in Arrowhead Stadium.

Kansas University junior Todd Reesing and his favorite target, Kerry Meier, have been speed-reading each other’s minds since Reesing took the quarterback job from Meier and turned him into a receiver. They never did so in more entertaining fashion than on Reesing’s game-winning, 26-yard touchdown push-pass to Meier with 27 seconds left in the game. Kansas 40, Missouri 37, a score that won’t soon be forgotten on this side of the border.

For all the complexities of football played on such a sophisticated level, Reesing and Meier have a way of simplifying it. Reesing never quits on a play, never stops improvising. Knowing that, Meier never gives up on a play, never stops drawing fresh lines in the dirt.

Never mind that, according to his coach, Mark Mangino, Reesing could barely lift his throwing arm at the beginning of the week. Forget that Kerry Meier was “playing on one leg,” according to Mangino. It was a perfect day to play a football game. Cold, slushy, rainy, snowy. So they played the game of their lives.

The play that has a prominent place in the history of the Border War series happened on do-or-die fourth-and-seven with Kansas trailing, 37-33, and on its last chance.

Meier, who caught 14 passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns, was not one of the players Mangino made available to the media in a truncated postgame interview session, so let’s let Reesing take it from here.

“They blitzed and went to a man coverage,” Reesing said. “We’re just drawing a play to get a first down. We weren’t trying to hit a touchdown there. We were trying to get seven yards. Kerry was the initial throw, and they had him covered. I looked to (Dezmon) Briscoe, and he hadn’t got off his break, and I think he said he slipped. And after that it just kind of became back-yard football. I was just trying to buy time for someone to get open, and Kerry did what he’s done best all year, find ways to get open on big plays. I just kind of shot-put the ball to him over the top and let him run underneath it.”

While scrambling, Reesing stepped up, stepped to his right, and stepped up again, spotting Meier and guiding a perfect strike to him. All Reesing’s best qualities surfaced on the biggest play of the season. His remarkable pocket presence, his ability to make a play last forever, his clutch nature, his accuracy, it all came into play.

How is he able to be so evasive? Does he see the pressure, feel it, sense it in some other way?

“It’s a little bit of everything,” Reesing said. “You have to be aware of the people around you, everyone around you, so you’ve got to kind of feel people on your back side and use the sidelines. You have to move around in the pocket, and some of it’s luck. Sometimes you’re not going to see everybody. And that time, the offensive line, they blocked hard like they did all day. They did a great job getting that pocket set, and they bought enough time for us to make a play. Without their blocking, that play doesn’t happen.”

Count Reesing’s counterpart Saturday among those who hold his abilities in high regard.

“What can you say about Todd Reesing?” Mizzou quarterback Chase Daniel said. “He’s a player, man. He can make plays out there with his feet, with his arm, and he showed it today.”

Mangino articulated well how Reesing feels the game even better than he thinks it.

“Paralysis through analysis … coaches sometimes suffer from that. Intelligent players sometimes do. He doesn’t,” Mangino said. “Even though he’s a 4.0 guy, he’s a brilliant guy, he is run-and-gun, and he takes measured chances. ... He’s not the type of guy that’s going to sit back and analyze things. Rather than see what happens, he’s going to make something happen. You can’t say that he’ll sit around and complain about his circumstances in life. He’s not one of those guys. He will change the circumstances if he doesn’t like them.”

When necessary, Reesing will drift off script. That’s what he and Meier did again Saturday. They took the football game all the way back to their back yards and won it, sending an entire state into a funk, another state into euphoria.

Comments

actorman 11 years, 3 months ago

"They never did so in more entertaining fashion than on Reesing’s game-winning, 26-yard touchdown push-pass to Meier with 1:18 left in the game."WTF??? There were 27 seconds left, not 1:18. Where in the world did you get that figure?

John Brown 11 years, 3 months ago

It feels good to experience real college football euphoria at KU. This game and was brilliantly managed by Mangino and the kids played an inspiring game. I watched with the Alumni in ATL, GA amoungst a roudy and loud GT-Georgia contingent. After their game ended they turned their attention to the KU-MU game. The KU program is real now especially when SEC and ACC fans can respect your game as well. Rock Chalk Jayhawk, Keep moving the chains Mangino.

troutsee 11 years, 3 months ago

Yesterday's game was one of the best KU FB games I have seen down through the years. KU's 15-14 win over OU back in the mid-60's was also a dramatic win. We scored on the first and last play of that game. Gayle Sayers ran back the opening KO for a TD and then was forced out of the game on the next to last play of the game when an animal named Leon Crosswright hit him late out of bounds and then provoked a fight with Sayers, resulting in both players being ejected. We then ran a trick play with our QB Bobby Skahan getting a lateral and then looking for a receiver in the end zone. Finding none, he took off, traveling from the east sideline all the way to the west sideline and just squeezing into the endzone at the flag. We then ran a double reverse for the winning two point conversion, a thrilling finish but not anymore thrilling than the KU win yesterday. I also would rank our win in 1960 in Columbia over the then #1 Tigers as thrilling. I witnessed that one too. The 76 point beat down on the Husker nation last year was very gratifying, a payback for all those lopsided wins they have had over us down through the years. And, oh yes, the OB win over VT was also right up there. I was fortunate to have witnessed all these games.

actorman 11 years, 3 months ago

In my 35 years of being a KU football fan, this was the best KU game I've ever seen. i only wish I could have been there to see it in person. The atmosphere must have been incredible!

Sparko 11 years, 3 months ago

I think Reesing put the small hands slam to rest. He threw the ball better than ever in the rain and sleet. Just amazing. The play of the day might have been allowing Missouri to score on the run play before the last drive. MU was looking to milk the clock . . .

KsBB 11 years, 3 months ago

I don't understand the talk of Reesing being to little for a pro. He looked 10 feet tall yesterday.

lance1jhawk 11 years, 3 months ago

actorman- The atmosphere yesterday was unbeliveable. Great KU crowd, even though I believe it could have been better. The crowd stood and cheered the entire game. I still don't have my voice back yet. The weather pretty much dictated that only the hardcore KU football fans would be there. So you could pobably imagine the amount of noise that was being generated. Hats off to the new parking and driving instructions that were given out with the tickets. I was parked and tailgating in no time yesterday morning. The pre-game pat down through security went quickly as well. Nice job for the Camerohead staff. (Yeah the place is still a dump) maybe in a few years after the renovations it will be arrowhead again.

bringheatwavewheat 11 years, 3 months ago

Does anyone know if these Border War games are available on DVD anywhere?

jayhawk02 11 years, 3 months ago

What an amazing performance by our Jayhawks. I was so glad to see Coach Mangino, his staff and players come out of there with a "W" and smiles on their faces. There has been a lot of talk from the KU nation that KU is a basketball school and we will be back to football mediocrity after last year. I hope this game proves them wrong. Shame on the "fairweather" fans that sold their tickets to mizSEWERy fans. It was great to see so many true KU fans there. The support was absolutely great. Way to go Hawks!!! Rock Chalk!! BTW, as Bringtheheat asked, does anyone know where you can get DVD's of yesterday's game?

Larry Smith 11 years, 3 months ago

The game yesterday was awesome. The atmosphere was incredible. The parking situation was easy, the traffic was no problem. Had a nice tailgate, never sat down the entire game, nor did any of the fans around us(never would happened at Memorial). Tickets were great. Drank a few beers. We won the game. An overall great experience. This could not have happened if the game was in Columbia. How could you possibly not want to do this every year?I definately think the powers that be learned a lesson last year and made significant imrovements.

Debbie Mangen 11 years, 3 months ago

I recently got a dish. I still don't know all the bells and whistles. Does anyone know if this game is going to be shown again anytime this week? I didn't get to watch it!

Sean Rodger 11 years, 3 months ago

I was at the game - honestly the best football game I've seen in person!!!The only thing I can say I was disappointed in was the lack of Kansas fans there! It's supposed to be 50/50. So many empty seats all over the stadium - and then from looking around I would approximate the KU to Mizzou fans at KU: 20% - MU: 80%. Still - we showed up to tailgate at 7a.m. in the snow/rain, watch the best game KU has played all year (even defensively). Man - what a game - I only wish I had dvr'd it so I could watch it all again!Absolutely amazing!

Matt Lacey 11 years, 3 months ago

Looking at tvguide.com for my listings in Houston, it says it's on right now on FSDC and will be again at 8:30p tonight and 11a, 1:30p and 9:30p Monday. Then it's on FSN (the main network) at 2am and 12n tomorrow. But looking at the programming for each, it may be that "FSDC" is Fox Sports Central, which the middle of the country gets as FSN. What Houston gets as FSN is actually Fox Sports Southwest.

Dirk Medema 11 years, 3 months ago

For all the wonder of the Reesing/Meier finish - and it was fabulous, it is a shame that Stuckey's play is getting so little notice. I am so kicking myself for not taping the game. Even my mother-in-law (Husker) trying to gloat over a month old victory can't dent the aura. Man it feels good to be a 'Hawk.

JayhawkPhil64 11 years, 3 months ago

This was indeed a great great game. To witness the guts and determination of these guys was something I won't forget. It would have been better if it had been in the tigger's back yard like two other great KU victories I have attended but that is a trivial point compared to the overall euphoria from this great game. I have to give the Arrowhead staff credit--they did an outstanding job of directing traffic for getting in and out of the complex. At least the game was played at the end of the year and it rough weather conditions as it should be. Like dagger10, I am also kicking myself for not taping this. It might not be the greatest KU football victory of all time(I have been watching KU since sometime around 1960) but right now I can't think of one that was any better. I have never been prouder of a KU football team, and that includes our fantastic win over Virginia Tech in the Orange bowl. I am happy for not only the team but Coach Mangino who I consider the best KU FB coach ever. Don Fambrough, the greatest KU fan/alumni ever, and all my fellow fans who live for games like this.

Bob Audley 11 years, 3 months ago

“What can you say about Todd Reesing?” Mizzou quarterback Chase Daniel said. “He’s a player, man. He can make plays out there with his feet, with his arm, and he showed it today.”A really nice comment made by Chase Daniel...Show alot of class.

Jim Williamson 11 years, 3 months ago

Actorman -- easy, there, hoss. Yes, there were 27 seconds left, but 1:18 was the time of possession on the scoring drive. An easy enough mistake to make.

GrayHawker 11 years, 3 months ago

The crowd was more like 60-40. I know that a lot of KU fans right around me were wearing rain coats and most of those were yellow fabric. So don't go by the color sitting in a seat.

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