COLUMBIA — Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel tried for a decade to defeat Oklahoma. He said it was his responsibility to defeat the Sooners, and after eight games in those 10 years, he had yet to do it.
Missouri's head coach can now rest easy.
Pinkel's Tigers shocked BCS-No.1 Oklahoma 36-27 Saturday night at Memorial Stadium, the final play bringing thousands of screaming fans onto the field for a once-in-a-lifetime party.
Oklahoma, down by nine points with two seconds remaining, ran a pointless lateral play. As the Sooners and Tigers played hot potato with the ball, fans jumped the fences and plowed through the human barriers, flowing onto the field while the game was still in session.
The game was finally declared over, the ball presumably dead under a sea of fans, players and coaches. Thousands more poured in from the stands, swarming the team and the goalposts. After 20 minutes of jumping, dancing and yelling, the fans eventually took the neon yellow uprights into the stands and up to the street.
Pinkel was prepared for the moment, ready for the chaos. His on-field bodyguard asked how they would get off the field when the Tigers defeated Oklahoma. That was two weeks ago.
Beating Oklahoma was then just a dream for Pinkel. Even after the fact, it might still be a dream. "It will hit me later tonight a little more when I get home," Pinkel said after the win.
As for the victory, Pinkel was happy to stop talking about beating Oklahoma.
"Bottom line you gotta to do it," Pinkel said. "You gotta do it and we did it. We did it."
The unprecedented win by the Tigers improved the team's record to 7-0 for the first time since 1960. The Tigers now stand alone at the top of the Big 12 North standings, with a crucial matchup at Nebraska looming next Saturday.
"I told the players enjoy tonight, a short night, and we'll go at it tomorrow," Pinkel said.
But for now, Pinkel can revel in the victory with his team, the squad that finally beat Oklahoma. Pinkel, whose emotions are rarely visible, couldn't hide his pride on Saturday night as he met with reporters.
"How 'bout my Tigers?"