Jayhawk Flashback: Missouri, 9/27/2003


It's always hard to look back at an improving football team to find the exact time that it changed from a pushover to a program.

Think about it with the KU football team. Was there one game — or even one play — that made you think, "Hey, this might be a pretty good team one day"?

I can think of a few games off the top of my head: the Kansas State victory in 2004, or maybe the 40-15 rout of Nebraska in 2005.

If we go even further back, though, you might even be able to point to this game: Kansas' 35-14 victory over Missouri in 2003.

Our own Chuck Woodling even had a column the next day saying the game was perhaps a "turn the corner" or "watershed" victory for KU.

By my count, the Jayhawks had lost 11 straight games to ranked teams.* Not only that, KU was getting shellacked by those teams, as seven of those 11 opponents scored at least 50 points.

* — KU's previous victory over a ranked foe was in 1998 — a 33-17 Homecoming win over 17th-ranked Colorado.

To me, this game at least has to be in the discussion as one of those tide-changing games. The Tigers came in with confidence, a perfect record and a shiny new No. 23 ranking.

And Kansas, for the first time in a long time, dominated a ranked team that it wasn't supposed to beat.

The highlights are below:

Some thoughts:

Props to Charles Gordon for making some nifty moves in our first highlight, but it sure looks like he received a lot of help to break off that big punt return.

I can't tell the number, but it looks like one Jayhawk at the beginning of the return gets away with a fairly blatant block-in-the-back penalty.

The return actually immediately reminded me of another similar punt return that former Kansas City Chief Dante Hall had against Denver.

Video: Dante Hall Return

Again, you appreciate the moves and jukes and ability that Hall had, but you also can't watch the return without wondering how far he would have gotten without two obvious blocks in the back.

Throughout this whole video, it seems like our own Kevin Romary and Chip Budde are racing to see who can announce each touchdown first.

Kevin wins four to three by my count, and he also gets brownie points for calling Darius Outlaw's touchdown when the MU receiver was still on the 8-yard line and didn't have the ball yet.

Yeah, Clark Green gets the touchdown at the 2:12 mark, but give a huge assist to Charles Gordon for his excellent block.

Go back and watch it again. Gordon flies in from his wide-receiver position, clocks an MU linebacker at the 4-yard line, then drives him back four yards into the end zone.

At the time, Gordon couldn't have been much more than a buck-eighty, either.

Nice TD run by Bill Whittemore at the three-minute mark. Where would he rank on most exciting players to watch in KU football history?

By the way, did you see the way Whittemore celebrated that touchdown by tossing the ball up in the air? Expect a 15-yard penalty for that this season. After attending Big 12 media days and hearing the points of emphasis, it looks like officials are going to crack down on excessive celebrating/taunting this season.

OK, the goal-post tearing-down thing was cool at the time, but do you think the fad is over for KU fans?

More specifically, let's say hypothetically that KU football beat Oklahoma at home this season.

What happens? Do fans rush the field? Do the goalposts get taken down (even if KU is ranked at the time)?

I would guess the answer is still yes, but just wondered what everyone else thought.

By the way, athletic director Lew Perkins didn't seem too upset with the goalposts being torn down — or the cost the university would have to pay to replace them.

If you remember, the score could have been even more lopsided in KU's favor. Moderick Johnson dropped a pass when he was wide, wide open that would have gone for a 44-yard touchdown if he had caught it. KU also had problems with the snap on a 36-yard field-goal attempt.

Pinkel after the game: " ... obviously, I got outcoached today."

Pinkel also had insults yelled at him on his way to the locker room by MU fans that were upset with the play-calling.

MU was the first team that season to hold Whittemore under 200 yards passing, as the KU QB completed just 14 of 22 passes for 111 yards. He made up for it, though, with a season-high 76 rushing yards and two scores.

Though this video seems like it was a long time ago, it's interesting to note the two head coaches in this game were Gary Pinkel and Mark Mangino.

I'm sure a lot of fans at the time wouldn't have guessed that both coaches would still be with their respective teams six years later. Honestly, I don't see either coach going anywhere anytime soon, either.


waywardJay 11 years, 10 months ago

Let's hope not. Let's HOpe Mizzou sticks with Pinkel. Our record versus him is pretty good ;)

What ever happened to Moderick ???If he was a freshman that would have put him as a senior on our orange bowl team yes ???? I don't remember any moderick's on that team

Jesse Newell 11 years, 10 months ago

wayward — I think this article answers your question:

"In a 2003 recruiting class known for KU's aggressive - and sometimes ill-advised - pursuit of junior-college players, just one Texas high school standout was signed. That was wide receiver Moderick Johnson out of Houston, who played just one season before becoming an academic casualty."

Kyle Rohde 11 years, 10 months ago

If we beat OU or UT at home, the goalposts deserve to come down - Mangino's done a lot, but we haven't yet beaten a really good team at home. Otherwise, I'm glad to see that this trend has died.

sevenyearhawk 11 years, 10 months ago

Strap on your hardhats, folks ...

When Kansas defeats Oklahoma - those goalposts are going down faster than a drunk Mizzou cheerleader!

Jesse, check this stat:

the year that Kansas beat Nebraska (2005) seems like I remember SportsCenter saying that goal posts had been torn down seven times that season - THREE at KU:

Mizzou 13-3 Nebraska 40-15 Iowa State 24-21 OT

Jayhawk444 11 years, 10 months ago

2005 was the first year we had season tickets for the family. My kids started to think the goalposts came down every time KU won!

Mo Golany 11 years, 10 months ago

I remember watching that game on foxsports and we actually popped into the top 25 the next week! I do feel like that was a program changing game because we weren't in the top 25 since 96 if I'm not mistaken!

Michael Auchard 11 years, 10 months ago

I was at this game. It was the best football game I've ever been to outside of a certain LHS/Freestate High game involving a trick play about nine years ago.

Michael Auchard 11 years, 10 months ago

Watching that video, (a. I forgot what a stud Whittemore was, and (b. the problem with us having a really good football team is, I doubt we'll be pulling down nearly as many goalposts in the near future.

Ryan Wood 11 years, 10 months ago

Whittemore's celebration toss looked exactly like the toss done by the Washington QB last year against BYU. 15-yard penalty, missed PAT, one-point loss.

Chad Dexter 11 years, 10 months ago

Wayward, I know Jesse already answered your question, but I was just trying to understand your math.

Orange Bowl was after the 2007 season. If Mo was a freshman in the season of that video - 2003 - he would have been: 2004 - sophomore 2005 - junior 2006 - senior

Chad Dexter 11 years, 10 months ago

Jesse, I don't think there was a block in the back on that Gordon return. If you look at it again, you'll notice the MU player start lunging forward on his own and then the KU player throws his arms up in the air so as to not get called for a penalty.

d_prowess 11 years, 10 months ago

First, if we beat OU at home and they are ranked in the top 5, the goalposts still come down. I know some people would say that given our recent success, we need to start acting like we have been here before, but come on, an win against a top OU team would be huge.

Second, anyone notice the kid jumping off the goal posts into Potter lake in the above picture. He looks to be about 10 feet above the water and on path for a huge belly flop! Amazing!

Third, I am very glad Newell brought up the question about Bill Whittemore's place in KU Football history. I have thought that Bill could easily get overlooked given the success of Reesing so soon after he left, but everyone has to recognize that he was a focal point for KU in their recent rise and may even have started the whole thing. Without him and the success he and his teammates had, where are we today due to players we may not have gotten?

bg_duck1 11 years, 10 months ago

My absolute all time favorite picture from a KU football game (the Whittemore TD pic) - packed Memorial Stadium, beautiful fall day in Lawrence, and those doooooosh bags from columbia getting crushed by the Hawks. The game was also probably one of my faves ever being at (and i've been going for 23 years now) definitely agree about it being a watershed type of breakthrough game for us. RCJHKU!!!

Appoggiatura 11 years, 10 months ago

Great memory. My first big football experience at KU. It was a perfect day. Whittemore was the man. If only we had him a year or two longer. What if...MM clearly out-coached Pinkle and did so again the following two years.

Sidenote: That Dante Hall kick return against Denver, I believe was the day after that KU/Mizzou game. His return won the game for the Chiefs, who started that season undefeated before face planting (as usual LOL) in the playoffs.

William James 11 years, 10 months ago

Jesse-This is the game that got me on the Mangino bandwagon. I was completely convinced after this game that we had the man to take us where KU had never been before. Think about it. Manginos first year we lost KSU 60 something to zero. To improve this much in 1 year, you know that would take an incredible head coach.

Warren 11 years, 10 months ago

Thank you for finally doing this game. Definitely the turning point, and I think this was my favorite KU vs Mizzou game ever, with last year's game a close second.

Watching the highlights and remembering the game, I kind of forgot how bad our PAT/Fieldgoal kickers were for a while.

And there really isn't much you can say about Whittemore besides the fact that he got hurt too much. I blame that on not having an offensive line that could protect any of our quarterbacks. Wasn't there a strech of 4 games where we had 3 different starting quarterbacks?

Tim Orel 11 years, 10 months ago

And we're never going to experience anything like this again, at least not vs. Mizzou since we don't play on campus anymore. Very sad.

brianharold9 11 years, 10 months ago

Never say never, just not for some time coloradojayhawk.

And I wouldn't say it is that sad of a thing considering it resulted in this...

William James 11 years, 10 months ago

HAHAHA!!!!! Yeah the last 2 Border Wars just don't compare. Yeah right. What fantasy are you living in coloradojayhawk?

milwaukeeJAYHAWK 11 years, 10 months ago

I took a friend of mine from Colombia (South America) and it was his first American football game he'd ever been to. What a first! He got to see a packed house going crazy against a hated ranked rival AND see the goalposts come down. He was like, "Let's go to the next one!"

I told him that this was a game that is hard to beat. Good first football experience for him.

sevenyearhawk 11 years, 10 months ago

After the 2008 Border War, my favorite was the 2004 game in Columbia ...

my FIRST EVER there!

That was the same year Mizzou got punked by Troy on ESPN (and my boss at the time was a Trojan alum, and I took him with me)

So, Kansas went up 21-0 early in that game ...

What I remember was that there were Jayhawks spread all through Faurot Field, and by the second half, we'd all "condensed" into one corner and that it was loud as Hell!

Nothing better than doing the Rock Chalk chant on enemy soil ... nothing.

11 years, 10 months ago

sven ~

You weren't in Columbia for the '98 game? I thought you may have still been in the band then. Not a lot of fond memories. Speaking of which, that was the year our band and some of our players' families were pelted with debris (whiskey bottles, unopened beers, etc.) thrown by the MU students during the game/halftime. The Tigers were favored by something like 18, and they still ripped down the goal posts after beating us. They toted one of them down in front of Harpo's where they proceeded to break out hacksaws and cut it up so each hooligan, er, Tiger fan could preserve the moment in history. We had some nice revenge two years later though when we beat them there with a Terry Allen-coached team.

kusp8 11 years, 10 months ago

What the heck is a Yell Leader doing in the picture at Potters Lake!?

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