Missouri tops rival Kansas to finish regular season

The Tigers pounded the Jayhawks on the ground, racking up 218 yards rushing on the day.
The Missouri football team celebrates their eighth victory over Kansas since the creation of the Big 12 Conference during the Border Showdown on Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium. The Tigers finished their regular season with a 10-2 record.

The Missouri football team finished the 2010 season with three straight wins, capped off by a 35-7 victory over Kansas in the Border Showdown on Saturday. The rivalry win at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City put the Tigers at 10-2 in the regular season.

Missouri racked up 397 total yards of offense, with 218 of them coming from the run game. The normally pass-heavy Tigers scored all five touchdowns on the ground, the first time they failed to record a passing touchdown since the loss at Texas Tech.

Sophomore running back Kendial Lawrence led the rushers with 75 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Junior tailback De’Vion Moore crossed the goal line twice, and even junior quarterback Blaine Gabbert helped the ground attack with 11 rushes and a touchdown.

As for the defense, the Tigers won the turnover battle with three interceptions off two different Jayhawk quarterbacks. All three picks were made by seniors in their last regular season and Border Showdown games of their careers.

More important than any game statistics from Saturday were the many milestones the win marked for the Tigers.

At first glance, the victory is just another tally on the second-oldest rivalry in college football. After 119 meetings since 1891, Missouri now leads the all-time series 56-54-9.

But on a larger scale, the win put this year’s team at 10-2, making them only the fourth team in Missouri history to post 10 wins in the regular season.

Coach Gary Pinkel's tenure with the Tigers accounts for two of those four seasons, as his 2007 team went 11-1 in the regular season. But he was even more proud of the win total accomplished by his seniors.

“There's a lot of numbers you can throw out,” Pinkel said. “But a 10-win season and co-champions of the North, with 40 wins that our seniors have right now. Obviously this has not been an easy year.”

Pinkel listed their disciplinary issues of the preseason and many injury issues as high adversity that this year’s squad had to fight through.

“If you don't have a lot of great people around you, great coaches and players and great seniors, you're not going to overcome that stuff,” Pinkel said. “So that makes this real special and I can't tell you how proud I am of my football team and coaches for all their hard work.”

In his second year as the leader of the offense, Gabbert was also proud of his team for succeeding despite those early-season issues.

"We definitely had some adversity on the year,” Gabbert said. “No one gave us a shot to go 10-2. But we worked hard and fought the adversity and won big games. We are the fourth team in Missouri history to get 10 wins in the regular season so we're happy.”

Sophomore defensive end Aldon Smith thrived on the preseason scrutiny and is thrilled to silence the critics.

“After losing some players and having the distractions that we had, I think a lot of people had us as, `Mybe they're not going to do the things they were set up to do,'” Smith said. “To go out there and end the season like this is a big eye opener and lets everybody know that we're a fist and we're all together."

Next up for the Tigers will be the bowl game that the league chooses for them. Missouri’s solid record and strength of schedule in a competitive conference should bode well for its bowl placement.

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