for this game

Missouri meets undefeated Kansas in Big 12 North showdown

Nov 24, 2007 - 11:33 AM No. 3 Missouri (10-1) at No. 2 Kansas (11-0) 8:00 pm EST

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Ticker) - Kansas and Missouri have been butting heads since the late 19th century. But never has there been this much at stake.

The second-ranked Jayhawks square off with the third-ranked Tigers on Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium in a contest which will determine the winner of the Big 12 Conference's North Division.

Formerly known as the "Border War," the 116th edition of this competitive rivalry also has major national championship implications.

The undefeated Jayhawks (11-0, 7-0 Big 12 North) enter the contest ranked second in the Bowl Championship Series standings and almost definitely would play in the national title game with wins Saturday and in next weekend's Big 12 championship.

Missouri (10-1, 6-1 North) is fourth in the BCS but likely would leapfrog No. 3 West Virginia with victories over the next two weeks.

But before either team can think about the BCS title game, they will have to focus on winning this game and a subsequent conference crown - something that has not happened in quite some time.

Kansas, which is 11-0 for the first time in school history, has not won a conference title since 1968. Missouri has not won a conference crown since 1969 and is enjoying its first 10-win season since since 1960, when it finished 11-0.

Neither team has won the Big 12 North Division since the conference was created in 1996.

It seems only appropriate, therefore, that both teams enter the most anticipated contest in this historic rivalry with a 53-53-9 all-time record in the series, the second-most played series in the country.

"I think all the rivalry stuff is great among the fan base, and it makes this huge for the public," Kansas coach Mark Mangino said. "But the fact of the matter is that this is a football game that we want to win and if you rely on emotion, it lasts for about two plays after the kickoff."

"(Arrowhead Stadium) is going to be wild," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel added. "That's going to be a lot of fun. They're one of the undefeated teams in the country, they're playing great football, and we're obviously great rivals. It doesn't get better than that."

The Jayhawks' high-powered offense has averaged 45.8 points per game, the second-best mark in the country. Led by sophomore quarterback Todd Reesing, Kansas has eclipsed the 50-point mark four times this season.

Reesing tossed four touchdowns last weekend to pace the Jayhawks to an easy 45-7 rout of Iowa State.

Kansas entered the contest as the No. 4 team in both national polls but jumped to second following a pair of upset losses by Oregon and Oklahoma, which were ranked second and third, respectively.

Missouri also held up its end of the bargain last Saturday, outlasting Kansas State by a 49-32 margin.

Chase Daniel threw four TD passes and Jeremy Maclin collected 360 all-purpose yards for the Tigers, who eclipsed the 40-point mark for the eighth time this season.

"Kansas, Kansas, Kansas, we can finally worry about it," Daniel said. "We didn't let this team worry about it until now. It was out there, but coach Pinkel did a great job at focusing on the task at hand, which was Kansas State."

An outside candidate for the Heisman Trophy, Daniel authored another chapter to what has been a brilliant campaign, completing 28-of-41 passes for 284 yards. The junior has passed for 3,590 yards and 30 TDs this season.

Also a Heisman hopeful, Reesing has been outstanding as well, passing for 2,910 yards and 30 TDs against just four interceptions.