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Fans gather around Columbia to watch MU's bowl

Tuesday, January 1, 2008 | 7:27 p.m. CST; updated 10:55 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Neither hangovers nor high winds could stop some MU Tiger football fans from cheering their team to a Cotton Bowl victory.

With several watch parties around the community, fans could choose a location to fit how they wanted to watched the game.

After the last snap in Missouri’s 38-7 Cotton Bowl victory over Arkansas, a standing room-only crowd at Truman’s Bar & Grill celebrated with deafening cheers and high-fives.

Truman’s was able to reach capacity with fans — including several loud Arkansas boosters — eager to celebrate a win.

Pete Kardon, 38, grew up in Columbia following MU’s football team but said this was the biggest game he’d ever seen.

“We should be playing in a big bowl game,” Kardon said. “Now that we beat Arkansas, I think they’ll figure that out.”

He said that even though they were ranked No. 7, Missouri played like the No. 1 team in the nation and they deserved a shot at the national title.

The Reynold’s Alumni Center hosted a party for alumni and University Club members looking for a classy location. About 100 people turned out for the family-oriented celebration, which included a lunch buffet, bar and, of course, the game broadcast on three big screens.

Wally Pfeffer, a class of ’89 MU alum and University Club member, said, “The price was right, the company was good and the menu was perfect,” Pfeffer said.

Throughout the game, Pfeffer said he had a good feeling and thought the Tigers were playing well with minimal mistakes.

Some fans opted for a more traditional atmosphere and took in the big game from their favorite sports bars.

Lifelong MU fan Scott White, 38, watched the bowl game at Big 12 Bar and Grill.

“This win is a culmination of watching for 30 years,” White said. “I’ve never experienced anything more than eight wins in a season. It’s a dream.”

Billy Cox, a physician’s assistant for the football team’s doctor, who has been an MU fan for more than 40 years, also watched the game at Big 12.

“This win means a whole new world for the school and football fans,” Cox said. “This was a huge win.”

Both fans had been waiting for a big win for years and have big expectations for next year’s team. Cox said that the team will be just as good or better next year, and White predicted a National Championship.

Like many students unable to make the trip to Dallas, MU graduate student Joanne Lonthen, 24, gathered with friends in Columbia to cheer on the team.

“This win is a huge boost for Mizzou’s morale and will give us a positive outlook for next year,” Lonthen said.

The owner of Truman’s, Russ Fischer, was glad to see so many people come together instead of watching the game on their couches.

“You get the excitement of everyone else, and it fuels your involvement,” Fischer said. He said the comfortable atmosphere of the bar combined with 40 screens brings people back time and again.

After the first half ended, Skip Bazat was surprised at the subdued crowd reaction.

“We’re hollerin’ a little. Tack another 20 points on in the second half, and it will be louder,” Bazat said.

That is exactly what happened.

After running back Tony Temple rushed for his fourth touchdown of the game, 12-year-old Lucas Phillips celebrated with his parents.

“The cheers are fun,” Phillips said. “It’s fun to interact with all the people here and support the team.”

Temple rushed for a Cotton Bowl record of 281 yards, showing the diversity of Missouri’s offense.

Adam Wiggins, 25, was eager to see what the win would do for recruiting next year.

“It should help, especially since we have shown all of our different offensive and defensive strategies,” Wiggins said. He said he was used to seeing a passing offense but this win would show that Mizzou can do anything.

While most people were quick to leave after the game, some fans revelled in the victory and a post-game celebration.

Harry Hentschke, 49, said he was thrilled by Missouri’s offensive showing. “It will probably be the biggest blowout of the bowl season,” he said.

Some watch parties experienced lower-than-expected attendance.

Blue Note employee Jason White said the downtown nightclub’s first watch party for the MU/KU game brought in nearly 400 people, while only a dozen fans turned out early for Tuesday’s Cotton Bowl.

Couple Greg Aker and Katie Madden showed up at The Blue Note to watch the game on the big screen and were hoping for a big win.

The words of one MU fan summed up the game for everyone.

“Game over, game over. New record!” White said of the Tiger’s 12th win of the season.

Fans all over Columbia began the victory cheers around the beginning of the fourth quarter after Tony Temple’s fourth touchdown and could be heard screaming chants until the final snap.


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