A Taste Of The Border War

The Border War is alive and well in the Missouri-Kansas rivalry to be played in Arrowhead on Saturday. The following is former Kansas QB Todd Reesing’s recollection of his first KU-MU game in 2007.

It is an excerpt from Rising to New Heights: Inside the Jayhawks Huddle written by Reesing with Kent Pulliam. The book can be found at most local bookstores or at

The Border Wars

People always ask me: “Do you think the game should stay at Arrowhead?”

If the environment was like that first one then yeah.

Sure, you always like the home field advantage and such. But to be able to play in an environment like that, with the split stadium at Arrowhead – which is a really cool place to play, is pretty neat. And you couldn’t have picked a better way to start the series if it is going to remain in Kansas City.

The Missouri game is everything a rivalry game should be. It’s way different than the Kansas State game. The Missouri game is the pinnacle because of how the rivalry started, because of how close the series is, because it leads back to the Civil War.

Coming from Austin, I knew the UT-OU rivalry that they play in the Cotton Bowl every year. In having gone to the games at the Cotton Bowl between OU and UT and having grown up going to UT games, I can say the hatred and intensity of the KU-Missouri game is way higher than the UT-OU game.

That Border War mentality is alive.

You don’t realize how intense the rivalry is until you come up here and you are around it and you go to those games. And at KU, you get Coach (Don) Fambrough coming in the week of the game. For anyone who hasn’t heard Coach Fambrough rant about Missouri . . . he gets so fired up about the rivalry and his hatred for Missouri. You just want to strap on cleats right after he is done talking and go play the game.

Border War 2007


















When we drove up from Lawrence for the game, people had been in the parking lot tailgating for hours. We actually got to the stadium a little later than planned because it took so long to get through the parking lot because there were so many cars and fans – even with a police escort.

As we’re driving through the Kansas and Missouri fans are all just mixed together. Our busses are coming in, and people are yelling – some cussing and some cheering for their team. We are all looking at each other asking: “Is this for real.”

This environment is going to be nuts.

When we got off our busses, the Missouri fans were yelling stuff at us that you don’t want kids to hear. It was just crazy. And the stadium was split into black and blue. It was just the most unbelievable environment for a football game.

In warm-ups it was hard to control yourself. I mean you were so amped up and ready, you almost had to relax before the game started. Guys in the locker room are banging their heads, yelling.

We know what’s at stake. We know if we win this game not only do we finish with a perfect season, after that there is a potential chance to play in the national championship game. We had a bye week the week before the game. So everyone was rested. We had our game plan. Going in we were ready.

To this day the environment and that Border War was the craziest, wildest, most intense loud environment I have played in all four years.

Then the game gets going, and literally everything that could have gone wrong for us in the first half did. We miss two field goals – which looking back we lost by six points. So those were huge. I had an interception where I could have had a touchdown if the ball had been thrown a couple of yards further. I couldn’t quite get enough on it. I had a tipped ball they intercepted in the first half.

The last time I threw an interception before the Missouri game was the Kansas State game. I had gone six games (213 straight passes) without an interception. It is the Big 12 record for most passes without an interception.

We get in at halftime. We have been moving the ball. We had the feeling that our defense was going to step up and get some stops. All we had to do was get going in the right direction.

We come out in the second half and start scoring at the end of the third quarter. Then we just get on a roll. We drive down the field series after series, got the game close. But they kept scoring, and we literally just ran out of time. We get that atrocious safety at the end of the game.

We get the ball at the 1 with just a few seconds left, and I get tackled in the end zone trying to make something happened. If we have two minutes, we go 99 yards and win. But we just didn’t have enough time for that miracle drive like happened the next year.

Things had gone so well for so long that season. We had almost no penalties. We played disciplined ball. We played smart. We hadn’t turned the ball over in weeks. In big games like that, a turnover or two, a missed field goal or two … that makes a difference. But even if you played a bad half, it shows if you play really good in the second half like we did, you still have a chance to win.

After the game I got criticized for wearing a glove in the game. People were saying: “What’s wrong with him. Why was he wearing the glove?” I don’t have to make a case why I did. I know it was the right thing. In that weather, I had a better grip on the ball. I had worn one all week in practice, and it was fine. But with the two interceptions, everyone was saying it was because of the glove. Well I also threw for 350 yards, which was my second highest total of the season, so you figure it out.

Looking back, it is such a big “What if” game.

What if we had more time?

What if we played better in the first half?

What if this and that?

What if we win the game?

That’s the hardest thing looking back. That game was such a tough loss because of what could have been. But I guess it worked out in the end. The story had a proper ending with the Orange Bowl. But that game is always going to be the toughest loss.

One Response to “A Taste Of The Border War”

  • November 26, 2010  - Nate says:

    I’m sorry Bob, but I am offended that you have an article by a whining, crying, excuse making Jayhawk.

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