It could have been one of the most difficult week’s in Missouri football history for the administration, the coaches and the players. Just two days after head coach Gary Pinkel was suspended for his DWI, the team was on the brink of giving up a last second touchdown which would have led to a heartbreaking loss to finish off a heartbreaking week.
But this time there would be no fifth down, no Husker pass being kicked in the air. Heck, not even a pass that bounced off a Tech lineman’s head that led to a first down could derail this moment. This time, redemption for Missouri.
I thought all day about how gut wrenching it must have been for Coach Pinkel to watch from home. Yet as I walked past Director of Athletics Mike Alden with less than two minutes to play, there was an intense look on his face I’ve never seen during a game. I imagined the pain and anguish he must have been going through. Knowing he had to make the difficult choice of suspending Coach Pinkel, which was the right thing to do, even though he knew it jeopardized a chance for the team to win at an all important juncture of the season.
As he squatted under the goal posts, wincing at each Texas Tech completion as the Red Raiders drove closer to the goal, the intensity grew. He cheered on Mizzou, “COME ON DEFENSE!” clapping his hand vigorously.
Then, when the defense needed it most, they got a bounce to go their way.