Missouri Football: 10 Best Bowl Victories in School History

Brian LendinoCorrespondent IIDecember 13, 2011

Missouri Football: 10 Best Bowl Victories in School History

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    Head coach Gary Pinkel has done a wondrous job as lead man for the Missouri Tigers and has his team is headed for their seventh consecutive postseason appearance in 2011, but the finishes haven't always been so pleasant.

    In total, the Missouri Tigers have made 28 bowl game appearances dating all the way back to 1924 and the Los Angeles Christmas Festival. The Tigers have a 12-16 overall record in bowl games.

    In their 12 wins, the Tigers have beaten teams from conferences like the SEC, ACC and Big Ten and done it both soundly, as well as in close games.

    Here are the 10 best bowl victory Missouri Tigers' history.

No. 10—1962 Bluebonnet Bowl

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    The Missouri Tigers defeated the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 14-10 in the 1962 Bluebonnet Bowl and as shown by the score, the game was a defensive struggle.

    Missouri didn't register a passing completion the entire game, and neither team scored a point in the fourth quarter.

    It took a 77-yard touchdown from Bill Tobin after a block to break up a 7-7 tie in the third quarter.

    Georgia Tech was favored entering the game.

No. 9—1978 Liberty Bowl

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    In the 1978 Liberty Bowl, the Tigers beat the LSU Tigers 20-15 behind the legs of running back James Wilder.

    Missouri carried a 20-3 lead into halftime but were shut out in the second half, while LSU prompted to make it a game.

    LSU scored in each of the final two quarters but failed to convert the extra point and two-point conversion and reaching a halt at 15.

    Arguably one of the greatest Missouri Tigers of all time, Kellen Winslow Sr., caught a 16-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.

No. 8—1981 Tangerine Bowl

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    An unranked Missouri Tigers team upset 18th-ranked Southern Mississippi 19-17 behind four field goals and a lone touchdown in Orlando, Florida.

    The most intriguing thing about this low-scoring game is that Missouri's defense remained stout and the Golden Eagles never held a lead.

    Missouri linebacker Jeff Gaylord took home MVP honors.

No. 7—1998 Insight.com Bowl

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    Missouri held off Marc Bulger and the West Virginia Mountaineers by the score of 34-31 on the day after Christmas.

    Marc Bulger had a record day by throwing for 429 yards and four touchdowns in the losing effort.

    Missouri grabbed hold of momentum early by returning a blocked kick for a touchdown and then headed into halftime with a 24-3 lead. However, Bulger hadn't even gotten started.

    The Mountaineers mounted a valiant comeback, but star quarterback Corby Jones ran in for a touchdown and a late field goal proved to be the difference.

No. 6—2008 Alamo Bowl

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    It took overtime for Missouri to knock off the Northwestern Wildcats 30-23 in what would be Missouri's last bowl victory to date.

    Jeremy Maclin and Sean Weatherspoon shared MVP honors as it was Maclin's second quarter punt return that gave Missouri momentum just before halftime.

    After trading scores in the third quarter, Missouri's kicker tied the game at 23 with a field goal with just under three minutes remaining. His miss in the waning moments would send the game to overtime.

    In overtime it was Jeremy Maclin again with the heroics, catching a Chase Daniel touchdown pass in overtime in both of their final collegiate football games.

No. 5—1966 Sugar Bowl

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    In the 1966 Sugar Bowl, the sixth-ranked Missouri Tigers squared off against the unranked Florida Gators headed by quarterback Steve Spurrier.

    Missouri ran out to a 20-0 halftime advantage and looked like they were in complete control of the game, but the "Ole Ball Coach" had other plans.

    Spurrier set a Sugar Bowl record with 352 yards passing and two touchdowns, as well as running in another touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

    The Gators clearly could have won or tied the game but failed on all three of their two-point conversion attempts.

No. 4—1968 Gator Bowl

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    The fashion in how Missouri upset Bear Bryant and the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 1968 Gator Bowl is awfully impressive. The Tigers blew out the Tide by the score of 35-10, and that is Alabama's worst loss in bowl history.

    At the time, the Tide had only given up 104 points all season and lost by a combined three points in their two losses of the season.

    Also, Missouri didn't complete a pass the entire game and sacked Alabama's quarterback nine times.

    The game was close throughout well into the fourth quarter until Missouri busted out for three consecutive touchdowns in the final period.

    It was Bama's third loss of the season, something that hadn't happened ever in Bear Bryant's tenure at the time.

No. 3—1961 Orange Bowl

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    The 1961 Orange Bowl marked the Missouri Tigers' first-ever bowl game victory after seven straight failed attempts. The fifth-ranked Tigers defeated the fourth-ranked United States Naval Academy 21-14 in a game that included a lot of ground-and-pound football.

    Missouri's defense came to play that day completely shutting down Navy's potent run game that included Heisman Trophy winner Joe Bellino—Missouri themselves rushed for over 200 yards.

    Both teams played valiantly, but it was a member of the viewing audience that stole the show. President John F. Kennedy was in attendance presumably cheering on the U.S. Naval Academy.

No. 2—2008 Cotton Bowl

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    Most of us are aware of the 2007-2008 Missouri Tigers who were ranked No. 1 in the country at one point, yet lost to Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game and were snubbed from the BCS equation to make room for a Kansas Jayhawks team they had previously beaten. OK, rant over.

    Either way, Missouri was disrespected and walked into the 2008 Cotton Bowl classic with a chip on their shoulder and handed it to Arkansas.

    Arkansas had one of the most lethal duos in the backfield in college football history with Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, but Missouri's defense held them to 150 yards combined while senior Tony Temple of Missouri broke out for 281 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

    The Tigers' lone two losses of the season were to top-10 ranked Oklahoma away from home, and to this day, the Tigers' disrespect remains one of the biggest black eyes in the BCS's tenure as college football's bowl dictator.

No. 1—2005 Independence Bowl

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    The 2005 Independence Bowl gave us one of the greatest single-game bowl performances in college football history when Brad Smith seemingly single-handedly beat the South Carolina Gamecocks in comeback fashion.

    The Gamecocks jumped out to a quick 21-0 lead in the first quarter, and most wrote the 6-5 Tigers off until Brad Smith decided he didn't want to exit his college career in that way.

    Smith accounted for 432 of Missouri's 504 yards of total offense and accounted for four touchdowns in the Tigers' 38-31 comeback victory.

    Let me take a second and allow the fact that Brad Smith accounted for 86 percent of the Tigers total offense resonate within you.

    Yeah, it was like that.