Tiger Victory Means Much for Pinkel and Team
With a post-season berth in front of them for the taking, the Tigers beat Baylor 31-16 to earn a spot in a bowl game. It may have been senior day, and Brad Smith's last game in front of the Missouri faithful.
But for the Tigers and their fans alike, the home finale victory meant more than that. MU's sixth win accomplished the season's number-one goal of getting to a bowl game ...
"Yeah, that's huge. That's important for us, that was a goal we wanted to have at the beginning of the year. You know you always want to win a championship, and you always want to go to a bowl game... So we have that taken care of," said Missouri Quarterback Brad Smith.
After the game Coach Pinkel said that not only does the sixth victory earn his team a bowl appearance this year, but it also has future implications for the program.
"Well, that's the goal of the program. You know, you want to be competing for the divisional championship in November, and hopefully sometime you get it. And you want to go to bowls every year, and that's the way it is. That's the beauty of our business, that's what you gotta do. If you do that consistently, your program will become a football program -- respected around the country," said Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel.
Whether or not the team's win over Baylor earns the Missouri program more national respect remains to be seen. In the meantime, while the players are excited about the bowl berth, they know the season isn't over yet .
"It's amazing. It'll be my first bowl game, and I just hope that, you know, we can just stay focused and forget about that right now, focus on K-State, and just keep going," said Missouri running back Tony Temple.
For one last time in 2005, the players celebrated a win at Memorial Stadium. But the opportunity to win for a seventh time and earn a bid in a more prestigious bowl game awaits next Saturday in Manhattan, Kansas.
That game against Kansas State kicks off next Saturday at 1PM.
The Tigers will be attempting to win in Manhattan for the first time since 1989.