Well, Tiger fans, this one was ugly. But unlike ugly games in the last month, like the loss to Kansas and the blowout against Oklahoma, the Missouri Tigers came out on top in this one and beat the Northwestern Wildcats 30-23 in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio.
- I honestly don't know how to feel about Chase Daniel or his legacy at Missouri. He is statistically the best quarterback Missouri has ever had. Is that a product of his offense? Is that because he is throwing to probably the best wide receiver-tight end tandem that Missouri will ever see? Or is it because he is intelligent, accurate, and heady?
No matter, really. Chase Daniel is going out as a winner. Self admittedly, he played like total crap. But you gotta respect him! He knows that he played like garbage, and he has actually apologized to Tiger fans and his teammates numerous times. Regardless of how much his arm strength or decisions frustrated me in the past, I thank him for the memories and his time at Mizzou.
- Jeremy Maclin is the best playmaker at Missouri, ever. Yes, I've only been around since 1988, but he is absolutely electric. I am almost 100 percent positive we have seen him play his last game in a Tiger uniform, but I am so grateful that we got to watch him for two years. He will be a rich man in a few months. His punt return ignited the Tigers in the Alamo Bowl, and his presence will be greatly missed.
- I won't harp on it much because Northwestern has a good defensive line that held the running game in check, but Missouri HAS to run the ball consistently under new OC Dave Yost. It's so bad that the commentators were openly talking about Northwestern's strategy to sit back and wait on the pass. D-Wash only had 15 carries. He's gotta have more than that. At least 20.
- Speaking of the Wildcat defensive line, tip your hat to Missouri's O-line for only giving up one sack to the team that led the Big Ten in getting to the quarterback. Chase scrambled a little bit, but for the most part, he had time. It gives hope for next season, when the Tiger will lose only two starters and have youngsters in Dan Hoch and Austin Wuebbels who are expected to slide in with ease.
- Jeff! Come on buddy! Nay a Tiger fan can EVER complain about Jeff Wolfert, the most accurate kicker in Missouri history, but that miss at the end of regulation hurt! It was almost like he could hear the announcers on ESPN doubting him, because that kick was well in his range. Nobody will remember, but he could have ended it earlier.
- Hats off to the Missouri defense. They didn't play tremendously, but they buckled down and played well enough to win. In particular, Missouri fans should pay tribute to seniors Ziggy Hood and Stryker Sulak. They both got after C.J. Bacher consistently, and if any NFL scouts were watching, they probably enhanced their draft stock
- Sean Weatherspoon has consistently been the best player on Missouri's D this season, but he disappeared against Kansas and Oklahoma. But Spoon was out of control against Northwestern. He was everywhere on the field, making big hits, and energizing the defense.
I think Tiger fans will see him for another year, but there's an outside shot that he enhanced his stock so much in San Antonio that he's played his last game in the black and gold.
- The secondary looked mostly crappy, like usual, but redshirt freshman cornerback Trey Hobson actually looked pretty good. He had a couple of big hits, including one on special teams. Maybe he'll use this solid performance to take a starting CB spot in the spring.
- Overall, considering the expectations prior to the season, this was a disappointing season for Missouri. But in the grand scheme of things, the Tigers have won 10 games and their bowl game in consecutive seasons. They had a good recruiting class last season and have another good one coming in.
Tiger fans should get some perspective. Missouri is not USC, Oklahoma, or Texas. I don't even know if Missouri is an above average program yet. But they had three very good years under Daniel, particularly the last two, and all of Mizzou Nation should be grateful for that.