Tigers Prepare for Independence Bowl

1 decade 4 years 13 hours ago Monday, December 05 2005 Dec 5, 2005 Monday, December 05, 2005 6:59:13 AM CST December 05, 2005 in Tiger Talk

"About 4:14 PM we received an invitation to the 2005 Independence Bowl and we graciously accepted that opportunity," said Associate MU Athletic Director Ed Stewart.

The Tiger football team is heading south to Shreveport, Louisiana.

"It's exciting you know," said Missouri safety, Jason Simpson, "We had some frustration last year and now we're going to a bowl and we get to spend December somewhere other than home."

"Going to a bowl game two years ago and not going to one last year was frustrating, and you know it's always exciting to be playing somewhere in December again," said Missouri offensive lineman Tony Palmer.

The Tigers will face the South Carolina Gamecocks, coached by the legendary Steve Spurrier.

The excitement players have is not just for going to a bowl game, but also for playing against a legendary Coach.

"Very excited especially playing South Carolina and Coach Spurrier," said Missouri Linebacker Derrick Ming, "You know, he's been around a long time and had a lot of success."

"Any time you get to play a coach that has tremendous success it becomes personal and it's naturally competitive," said Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel.

The Tigers met South Carolina one other time defeating the Gamecocks in the 1979 Hall of Fame Bowl.

But the Tiger have also defeated Steve Spurrier in the 1966 Sugar Bowl, the year before he won the Heisman trophy.

Mizzou is returning to Shreveport after a 27-14 loss to Arkansas in 2003. This year the Tigers are looking for a brighter outcome.

"The first year we went down there we were just excited to be there, this time we're more focused on getting the job done and playing well,"  said quarterback Brad Smith.

"A win would be a perfect ending," said Simpson.

"I think we're ready to go out there and prove an opportunity to ourselves and everybody else that we didn't have the type of season that we wanted, but you know but we can still finish strong at the Independence Bowl," said Ming 

Spurrier led South Carolina to a 7-4 record, in his first season coaching the Gamecocks.

The Independence Bowl will be played Friday December 30 with a 2:30pm kickoff , and will be televised on ESPN.

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