Jayhawks fans send goalposts on traditional tour of KU campus

Defensive end Brian Smith became MU’s career sack leader in the game.
Sunday, October 30, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:11 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

LAWRENCE, Kan. - There are certain images no Missouri fan wants to see.

Many of them appeared in Lawrence on Saturday afternoon: Kansas’ Memorial Stadium, minus its goalposts.

Jubilant Kansas students swimming in nearby Potter Lake while the goalposts float around them. A white streak that the goalpost etched into Memorial Drive as the students dragged it down the street. The goalpost finding its final resting place, the fountain in front of the Chi Omega sorority house.

“It’s all about Missouri and Homecoming,” said Kansas sophomore Dan Melsheimer, who was one of about a dozen students who carried one goalpost base to the fountain. “Mizzou has had a great football team, but the last three years, we‘ve taken them.”

It’s a tradition at KU that when students tear down the goalposts, they go to Potter Lake. They’re usually dragged out and taken somewhere else. Saturday, one was taken to the fountain and the other to Massachusetts Street, the main drag in Lawrence.

“It has to be christened by the lake first,” Melsheimer said. “Then from there, it’s been paraded down Mass Street, and now the Chi-O fountain.”

After the 13-3 Jayhawk victory, athletic department employees quickly took down the collapsible goalposts. Students rushed them anyway, tore them out of the ground and marched both up Mount Oread to the lake, alternating chants of expletives directed toward Missouri and of “Rock Chalk Jayhawk KU.”

Then, into the lake they went, just as they did in 2003 when Kansas upset No. 23 Missouri 35-14.

This time, at the fountain, one Kansas student added another insult to the Tigers’ defeat. As the students tried to flip the goalpost upside-down in the water, he yelled encouragement.

“Come on! Don’t be Tigers! You can do it!”

They did it, and a sea of blue-clad Kansas fans stood and cheered.

STRANGE SONG: It was a crisp, still midnight, about 12 hours before kickoff of the Missouri-Kansas game on Mount Oread, which overlooks Memorial Stadium.

Then, out of nowhere came a trumpet blast. Wait, what’s that tune? Wasn’t that…? Yes, it was, Missouri’s fight song, here in the middle of archrival Kansas’ campus, the night before the teams’ annual game.

Then, minutes later, an even more surprising sound: the Tigers’ alma mater song ringing on KU’s Campanile bell tower. Soon, a constant stream of the alma mater or a mangled version of the Missouri fight song was reverberating all over campus.

The strange sight was due to a Kansas band member who led several Missouri band members up the tower to play the song. What at first seemed like a prank, was simply a few friends having fun.

Twelve hours later, Missouri’s football team let Kansas rule the day. But it was the Tigers’ fight songs that ruled the night.

SUPER SACKER: A bright spot during the game for Missouri was junior defensive end Brian Smith, who broke the Tigers’ career sack record.

Smith came into the game with 21 1/2 sacks in his career, one behind former Tiger Justin Smith. He got to KU quarterback Jason Swanson late in the first quarter to tie the record.

Then, late in the third quarter, Smith broke the Kansas’ offensive line – and the record – and took down Swanson again.

For Smith, though, the record paled in comparison the result of the game. He wouldn’t speak with the media after the game.

NOT QUITE BASKETBALL SEASON: Considering that Saturday’s game took place at a school known mainly for its basketball team, there was quite a buzz surrounding Memorial Stadium before the game.

This was after all, the Jayhawks’ Homecoming game. And it was Missouri.

“When it’s Mizzou, we’re ready,” Kansas student Matt McClintock said. “It’s a huge rivalry. We just want to kick Mizzou’s (butt), that’s all we worry about. There’s a lot of anger built up.”

Tailgaters crowded around blue-and-white striped tents on the hill overlooking the stadium before the game. One fan heckled passing Missouri fans with a megaphone, telling them to go home because Kansas would win. Campus fraternity houses draped hand-written signs saying, “We hate Missouri and you should too,” and others filled with obscenities.

Kansas basketball shirts, “Muck Fizzou” shirts and “Friends don’t let friends go to Mizzou” shirts were everywhere. There weren’t, however, many touting the football Jayhawks.

“(Football) is not quite halfway there,” said Tom Meier, a tailgater from Shawnee, Kan.

DIPPING BELOW: The loss drops coach Gary Pinkel’s record to 27-28 at Missouri. He is 0-24 when the Tigers trail at halftime and 7-15 on the road with Missouri.

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