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November 12, 2008

SCS.comThe frigid temperatures and below freezing wind chill were unable to cool off the Missouri offense on Saturday night as the Tigers rolled to another impressive victory beating Kansas State 41-24 on Senior Night at Faurot Field.

While the cold temperatures did not slow down the offense they did make for some extra set up duties for the equipment staff. On Friday, in addition to our typical pre-game duties, we made sure we had everything ready to go for what we knew would be a chilly Saturday evening.

In preparation for a cold weather game we have to not only think about the players and coaches, but also the administrators and other staff members who would be on the sideline suffering through the cold November weather. Friday afternoon we went up to the warehouse and pulled down nearly twenty boxes full of knit hats, jackets, long sox, and heavy coats.

Some of the jackets had not been opened so we went through them and hung them on a coat rack by size so that when someone asked for them, they would be easily accessible. We needed somewhere between 30-40 heavy coats and had to make sure they were black because our coaches on the sideline would be wearing gold.

Also on Friday we had to move propane in order to place heaters on the sideline. Along with long coats that go over the shoulder pads, commonly referred to as capes, we pulled out several hand warmers for our players.

The open-air booth was a little chilly; however, it was certainly better than being on the field. Within fifteen minutes of being in the booth, our producer Mark Mills turned to me and said, “one word today: coffee.” It was clear right there what my main job would be, keep everybody in the booth warm by providing them with coffee.

Due to the inclement weather our halftime and post-game show hosts, Gary Link and Jerome Sally, who usually sit outside on the photo deck, set up shop in the hallway and watched the game from at TV outside the elevator. While we all gave them grief for not sticking it out, no one could really blame them for moving inside.

In one of Mizzou’s longstanding traditions, Saturday was the “black-out game” in which all of the fans were encouraged to wear black. The dark and cloudy night sky, freezing temperatures, and extra black in the stadium made Faurot Field a daunting place.

Adding to the atmosphere Saturday night was the fact that it was senior night, and before kickoff each senior was individually announced to the home crowd. It was a very emotional night for a lot of our coaches and players as we honored our seniors and paid a final special tribute to Aaron O’Neal, a former Tiger player who tragically passed away in the summer of 2005 after a voluntary workout with teammates. Aaron’s dad was on hand and walked from the locker room to the 50-yard line when Aaron’s name was announced over the PA system.

After the game I went down to the interviews in the locker room with our players. All of them repeated the same sentiment: “we wanted to win this one of the seniors,” and that they did. On our post game show we were joined by Missouri’s Wide Receivers coach Andy Hill. Coach Hill talked about the emotion of watching seniors like Tommy Saunders leave the program but talked about the bright future of the younger players on the Tigers roster.

The victory over Kansas State was big for a lot of reasons. Not only was it a good victory on Senior Night, but it also put Mizzou on top of the Big 12 North. As we left the stadium and went our separate ways the feeling was mutual; it was nice to get this win, but with two regular season games left and hopefully a conference championship and bowl game, the season is far from over.

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