Manhattan, KS – The Missouri Tigers, ranked #5 in the BCS standings, got a bit of a scare Saturday as they took on the Kansas State Wildcats before 48,406 fans at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas. But the Tigers regrouped in plenty to top K-State 49 – 32.
The Wildcats started out with the ball, but didn’t hold onto it long as William Moore picked off a Josh Freeman pass, returning it to the K-State 15 yard line and setting up Missouri’s first score. It took Chase Daniel only 2 plays and 10 seconds to complete a 15 yard drive to the end zone that ended with an 8 yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin. Jeff Wolfert’s extra point gave Mizzou a 7-0 lead with just over a minute played in the game.
The Wildcats scored on their next possession, but had to settle for an 18 yard Brooks Rossman field goal to put the finishing touches on a 12 play, 55 yard drive that took K-State to the Missouri 1 yard line. Missouri 7, Kansas State 3.
The Tigers used up only seconds before putting more points on the board. Jeremy Maclin ran the kickoff back 99 yards for a touchdown – the first Mizzou TD on a kickoff return since 1982. The 99 yard return gave Maclin the NCAA record for all purpose yards by a freshman, a record that had been held since 1993 by Terrell Willis of Rutgers. The Wolfert’s PAT made it Missouri 14, Kansas State 3.
K-State then held Missouri on a 4th down and 2 at the Wildcat 31 yard line, and Kansas State quickly turned that into a score, as the Wildcats drove 69 yards in 2 plays for a major. The TD was scored by James Johnson, who ran 66 yards for the score. The point after was blocked by Stryker Sulak, leaving Missouri on top by a score of 14-9. That’s how the 1st quarter ended.
Early in the 2nd quarter, a Missouri punt was blocked and recovered on the 12 yard line by Ernie Pierce who ran it into the end zone for a K-State major. The point after was blocked, making the score Kansas State 15, Missouri 14.
The offense then settled down as Chase Daniel marched the team down the field for a 9 play, 81 yard touchdown drive that ended with Martin Rucker catching a pass from Daniel and running it into the end zone. Wolfert’s extra point put Missouri back on top, 21-15.
K-State picked up 3 points as the 2nd quarter came to a close as Brooks Rossman booted a 22 yard field goal to cap a 15 play, 88 yard drive. It made the score Missouri 21, Kansas State 18 to end the 1st half.
Mizzou got the ball to open the 2nd half and scored a touchdown in under a minute, taking the ball 77 yards in 6 plays in a drive that ended with Tony Temple running it in from 2 yards out. Wolfert’s point after gave Missouri some breathing room, making it Mizzou 28, Kansas State 18.
The Tigers delivered what turned out to be the fatal blow as Daniel connected with Maclin for his third TD of the day – a 44 yard touchdown pass to cap an 8 play, 93 yard drive. Wolfert’s convert made it Missouri 35, Kansas State 18.
K-State did not give up. The Wildcats scored a touchdown with 2:23 to go in the 3rd quarter as Freeman completed a 20 yard pass to Ernie Pierce to complete a 3 play, 13 yard scoring drive. Rossman’s extra point made it Missouri 35, K-State 25. That was the score as the 3rd quarter came to a close.
Mizzou put together a 4 minute drive in the 4th quarter to put the game on ice. Martin Rucker scored his second touchdown of the game on a 1 yard pass from Daniel to end a 10 play, 49 yard drive. Wolfert’s point after made it Missouri 42, Kansas State 25.
But Missouri wasn’t done yet. Tony Temple scored once more on a 1 yard run to cap a 5 play, 43 yard drive. Wolfert’s extra point made it Missouri 49, Kansas State 25.
Kansas State scored once more to make it respectable. It was a 13 yard touchdown pass from Freeman to Jordy Nelson to cap a 13 play, 78 yard drive, with Rossman getting the extra point to make the final score Missouri 49, Kansas State 32.
Chase Daniel completed 28 of 41 passes for 284 yards and 4 touchdowns. Maclin rushed for 143 yards on 9 carries, scoring a pair of TDs on the ground and another on the kickoff return. Tony Temple caught 16 passes for 75 net yards and a pair of touchdowns.
A pair of Missouri defensive players didn’t make the trip to Manhattan with the team. Hardy Ricks and Connell Davis were suspended for what is only being described as a violation of team rules.
The Tigers (10-1, 6-1 in the Big 12) have one game remaining in the regular season – next Saturday against the Kansas Jayhawks at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City in the game that will decide the Big 12 North Division Champion.