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.
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:
• 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.
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.