Inside Jayhawk Nation

November 29, 2009 12:46 AM

Border Showdown Loss Falls on Mangino's Shoulders

Dezmon Briscoe had two fumbles that led to 14 Missouri points. In the second half, the KU defense showed up like a white crayon on notebook paper. However, nothing compared to the three plays that were called with the Jayhawks leading by three late in the fourth quarter of a Border Showdown they would eventually lose, 41-39.

With three minutes left in the game, and the Tigers clinging to just one timeout, KU head coach Mark Mangino gift wrapped an early Christmas present and hand-delivered it the Jayhawks' rival to the East.

On first-and-10 from their own two, the Jayhawks threw two consecutive incomplete passes to run a grand total of eight seconds off the clock. More importantly the Tigers did not burn a timeout. Quarterback Todd Reesing, who threw for a school-record 498 yards and four touchdowns in the game, threw a 30-yard pass to the sideline on first down that fell out of bounds. It was almost like Mangino wanted to stick it to Missouri by trying for a 98-yard touchdown score to ice the game.

The next pass was a quick out to Jonathan Wilson who fell down along with the football to make it third-and-10. A quarterback draw on third down led to a safety that cut the lead to one, and gave the ball back to Missouri. A few Blaine Gabbert passes and Derek Washington runs later, the Tigers kicked a field goal about the length of an extra point to win the game. Game over, Border Showdown to Missouri.

It should have never happened.

If KU runs the ball three times on the final possession, Missouri can only stop the clock once. That leaves the Tigers with less than two minutes on the clock and no timeouts -- if KU doesn't even get a first down. It also means a field goal ties the game instead of winning it.

Now, the most uncoordinated, mindless person in the world can play armchair quarterback. However, even Baby Jay knows you run the ball in that situation. Those throws cost KU the game. Even though Mangino doesn't make those calls, he had to know what play his team was running. The fact he let them go through is mind-boggling. After all that has gone on the past two weeks with Mangino and the athletic department, it's hard to believe he will remain the coach after this latest blunder. If he was on thin ice before this game, he's swimming with the fishes now.

One would have to think Reesing was surprised by the call, but he was just doing his job. It was nice to see him end his career with one of his best games ever. However, Mangino ruined it with one of the most puzzling, ignorant calls of all time. Mangino did not address the calls, nor his status as head coach. He told reporters to ask "the decision-makers" about that.

 As thousands of Missouri fans left Arrowhead Stadium cheering the victory, Jayhawk fans walked out numb, wondering what had just happened. The problem is, the only person who can give an answer, isn't talking. 

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