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5 Thoughts - 2008 Alamo Bowl
Missouri WR Danario Alexander
Missouri WR Danario Alexander
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 30, 2008


Missouri beats Northwestern 30-23 in OT ... 5 Thoughts on the 2008 Alamo Bowl


5 Thoughts ... 2008 Valero Alamo Bowl

Missouri 30 ... Northwestern 23 OT

GAME RECAP: Missouri overcomes sluggish game to win in OT 
- 2008 CFN Alamo Bowl Preview 

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2008 Alamo Bowl Player Profiles, Histories, & More

1. Oh Ziggy, will you ever win (and I don't mean Mizzou defensive lineman Ziggy Hood)? Missouri had no business whatsoever winning this game. Absolutely none. The Tigers were outplayed, outhustled, outcoached, and out-anything else you want to put in there, except when it came to the play of LB Sean Weatherspoon and WR Jeremy Maclin, who put on their own personal NFL workouts. Chase Daniel was having a hard time throwing passes with both hands around his neck, the Mr. Automatic, Jeff Wolfert, missed, the Northwestern running game was working, and the Wildcat coordinators were coaching their tails off. None of it mattered as Daniel came through when he absolutely had to, the Tiger pass rush stepped it up a few notches, and Mizzou escaped. In other words, everything went right for Northwestern and it still couldn't come up with a bowl win. the Cats are now 0-for-6 in bowls in the modern era, and while this is a smart, tough team that played its tail off, that's not enough once the talent disparity starts to kick in. Head coach Pat Fitzgerald is a true believer in the program and he actually thinks he can create a national power in Evanston. He's just good/wacky enough to do it, but first the team has to bust through the bowl season. It's not going to get many opportunities, when a team as good as Missouri plays this poorly, again. - Pete Fiutak 

2. This Alamo Bowl was eerily reminiscent of the 1998 game between Big 12 North champion Kansas State and mid-tier Big Ten team Purdue. A decade ago, K-State lost the Big 12 title game and tumbled all the way down to San Antonio, a lovely city for tourists, but not the kind of bowl destination national title contenders desire. Bill Snyder's heavily-favored Wildcats acted like they didn't want to be in the Alamodome on that night, and sure enough, a fellow named Drew Brees led the Boilermakers to a mammoth upset.
 
Yes, the Big 12 big boy prevailed this time around, as Missouri held off Northwestern, but make no mistake: These purple-clad Wildcats from Illinois played with far more fire than the Wildcats from Kansas State did in 1998. Northwestern outworked and outfought Mizzou by a wide margin, playing close to the very height of its ability while the Tigers suffered through a listless and largely brain-dead performance. The one good thing that can be said about Missouri is that it dusted itself off and summoned up enough mental toughness to pull out the victory in crunch time.
 
The biggest story of this game was the emergence of the well-known "grumble factor," a disease evinced when a gifted team decides that it doesn't really care that much about the game it's playing. This writer was surprised to see such a scenario develop in San Antonio because Missouri didn't pout when relegated to the Cotton Bowl last season against Arkansas. At the end of the 2007 campaign, Missouri deserved a BCS bowl but was forced to trudge to Dallas. Yet, Gary Pinkel's team chose to show up and display maximum intensity on every snap. The result was not just a decisive win, but a statement about the increased maturity level of a program that had shed its underachieving past.
 
Tonight, the Tigers evidently felt that two straight bowl games beneath their hefty credentials were too much to bear. One can't blame them too much, especially not in a moment of victory.
 
Let Missouri's tortilla-flat performance serve as a warning, however, to other favored teams playing bowl games tinged with a bit of disappointment: Complain about your bowl destination in the offseason. In the meantime, you have to honor yourselves, your coaching staff, your fan base, and your conference.
 
USC, Alabama and Texas, think of this game as your own personal wake-up call. - Matthew Zemek
 
2.  Missouri coach Gary Pinkel must have agreed with the way Carolina Panthers coach John Fox mismanaged the final minute of regulation in Carolina's loss to the New York Giants on Dec. 21. Much as Fox settled for a 50-yard field goal at the end of regulation instead of trusting a proven quarterback to throw a seven-yard pass and create a far easier kick, Pinkel--with his team at the Northwestern 23 with 40 seconds left in the fourth quarter--chose to run the ball twice. The two plays did center the ball for the field goal, but at the cost of four yards. Missouri had enough time for a chip shot, but instead, Pinkel settled for a 44-yard field goal, which is never automatic for any kicker, not even all-time stud Jeff Wolfert, who had to drive the ball (as any kicker must on a 44-yarder) and, as a result, sacrificed accuracy.
 
Memo to coaches: Don't become painfully panicky and afraid of a turnover in the final minute of a game if you have a quarterback and an offensive line you can trust. Throw another pass, gain several more yards, and make life easier for your placekicker. - Matthew Zemek

4. Assuming this was his final game as an amateur, I’m going to really miss watching Jeremy Maclin playing at this level. The way he effortlessly glides along at warp speed, you’d think he can go the distance every time he touches the ball. And so does the other team, which makes him so doggone dangerous even when another Tiger is the target. Selfishly, I’d love to see him back in Columbia, helping along Blaine Gabbert in his first year as the starting quarterback. Realistically, he’s outgrown the Big 12 and belongs in the NFL, which will select him high in April. He’s Devin Hester with more upside as an offensive playmaker. His 75-yard burst through the Northwestern punt coverage team just before halftime was vintage Maclin and a key reason why Mizzou avoided the upset in San Antonio. Too bad it’ll wind up being his Tiger swan song. - Richard Cirminiello
 
5. I understand that the timing for this is awful, but I’m more convinced than ever that Chase Daniel is not going to be an NFL hurler. I suppose I should be waxing poetic about his importance to the Missouri program over the last few seasons, which has been profound and indisputable. He’s an all-timer at the program. However, that wasn’t my dominant thought throughout the Alamo Bowl. Instead, I was drawn to his ineffectiveness, including three picks, less than five yards an attempt, and countless poor throws. This wasn’t one game, rather a disturbing trend that began with the loss to Oklahoma State more than two months ago. Although there might be more record-setting days in Daniel’s future, I suspect they’ll be coming in the CFL instead of the NFL.  -
Richard Cirminiello