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Friday, June 12, 2009
Kansas' 2008 Border War comeback ranks No. 21

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Missouri had already wrapped up the Big 12 North title. And Kansas was playing merely to avoid a trip to the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La.

But last year's Border War had as much drama as any of the games in the series because of the gutty performance from several Kansas players who rebounded after earlier injuries in the season.

Reesing to Meier. Again and again.

Date: Nov. 29, 2008
Place: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.
Score: Kansas 40, Missouri 37

Some of the luster from the previous season's game was missing as Missouri had already claimed the North title.

Kansas jumped ahead early and stretched the lead to 26-10 early in the third quarter on a 19-yard touchdown run by Jake Sharp.

But Missouri climbed back in with a pair of Chase Daniel touchdown passes 57 seconds apart midway through the third quarter.

The Tigers claimed the lead for the first time at 30-26 on Daniel's fourth touchdown pass of the game, a 6-yard strike to Chase Coffman with 6:52 left.

Kansas stormed back to reclaim the lead as Reesing connected with Kerry Meier on an 8-yard touchdown pass with 4:26 left to put them ahead, 33-30.

Daniel answered with an epic 73-yard drive in which he accounted for all of the yardage by his runs or passes until the last play of the possession -- a 6-yard scoring run by Derrick Washington with 1:50 left that pushed Missouri ahead, 37-33.

But the Tigers left too much time. And Reesing and Meier, who both had been banged up with injuries earlier in the season, were ready.

The duo hooked up five times for receptions on the game-winning drive, including the game-winning 26-yard strike on fourth down which gave the Jayhawks the lead with 27 seconds left.

But the game still wasn't over. Missouri took advantage of a 25-yard pass from Daniel to Jared Perry to advance to the Kansas 36. It set up a 54-yard field goal attempt by Jeff Wolfert on the final play of the game. But Phillip Strozier partially blocked the kick, preserving the victory in one of the wildest games of the 117-game series between the two bitter rivals.

Only a year ago, Reesing had beaten Meier out for the starting position at quarterback. But the former positional rivals worked together when the Jayhawks most needed them to provide one of the most dramatic triumphs in school history.

The numbers: Reesing, who played through various injuries in the game and had his hand stitched up afterward, finished 37-for-51 for 375 yards and four touchdowns. Meier produced a school-record 14 catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns.

Darrell Stuckey was the defensive standout for the Jayhawks, sharing team honors with six tackles, producing two interceptions and forcing and recovering a fumble.

They said it, part I: "Our injury list, a roll of toilet paper wouldn't be enough. We've got guys that played today that could barely walk a week ago. It's the guttiest performance I've ever been associated with as a coach," -- Kansas coach Mark Mangino, who told reporters after the game how proud he was of his team's effort.

They said it, part II: "His play was phenomenal. I get this feeling when I watch him that you can almost see this competitive spirit radiate from him," Mangino on Reesing's performance.

The upshot: Despite the loss, Missouri advanced to the Big 12 championship game the following week in the same stadium. The Tigers dropped a 62-21 loss to Oklahoma, their second-straight Big 12 title game defeat to the Sooners.

Kansas advanced to the Insight Bowl, where Reesing, Dezmon Briscoe and Meier were at it again. The Jayhawks combined for an impressive 42-21 victory over Minnesota. The game marked the Jayhawks' first back-to-back bowl appearances in school history. After losing four of five games late in the season, Kansas finished 8-5.

Missouri concluded the season with an impressive bowl victory, punctuating Daniel's career with a 30-23 overtime victory over Northwestern in the Alamo Bowl. Missouri finished 10-4 with a No. 19 ranking in the final AP poll in 2008.

The countdown:

22. A Texas-sized comeback - Texas over Oklahoma State in 2004.
23. A Border War unlike any of the rest -- Missouri over Kansas in 2007.
24. Seneca Wallace's wild TD run vs. Texas Tech in 2001.
25. Baylor's "So Much for Taking a Knee."