PowerMizzou - Games of the Year
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Games of the Year

In less than a month, Missouri football reps will take the stage at SEC Media Days in Hoover, Alabama and another sports year will be underway. But the early summer is a time for reflection. Over the next few days, PowerMizzou.com will take a look back at some of the highlights of the year gone by in Tiger sports.
Today, we start with our list of the games of the year. Narrowing the list was not easy. The fact is, we could have done a top five just using football games (South Carolina, Auburn, Oklahoma State, Georgia and Texas A&M were all games that will be remembered for years in Columbia). But we wanted to include some other sports and maybe create some discussion along the way. So here are our top five games, though we do not list them in any specific order.
Volleyball Perfection

It wasn't the best game of the season, per se, as Missouri swept Arkansas out of Columbia in ho-hum fashion, 25-11, 25-16 and 29-27. There were games with more drama for sure. But none of them gave the Tigers what this one did: A perfect season. The win was Missouri's 34th in a row, including 26 sweeps and an 18-0 SEC regular season record. The Tigers would bow out of the postseason in a 3-1 loss to Purdue, capping a 35-1 campaign, but this accomplishment shouldn't fade any time soon for Wayne Kreklow's bunch. The fact that 7,437 showed up for the Arkansas game--the second crowd of more than 7,000 on the season--was a testament to what the team accomplished.
Border War is Back
Like volleyball, perhaps this one wasn't the best game of the season. In fact, landed a big blow early on two-run home run from Kirsten Mack and the Tigers led 6-1 entering the seventh inning. For sheer excitement, the come-from-ahead see-saw win over Bradley the day before was far better. But this was Kansas. It was the Border War. The crowd was hyped and the stage was superb. No, it's not basketball, where most fans really want to see the Tigers and the Jayhawks renew acquaintances. But it was a start. It was a game between the bitter rivals. And Corrin Genovese, the face and the mouth of this Missouri team, made it clear days before the game, even if the rivalry has faded, it most certainly continues to breathe. ""The whole rivalry with KU, it's just exciting to keep it going," Genovese said. "I know they're kind of scared to play us in football and basketball, so it's good that we can keep tradition going and hopefully let them know who's boss and who will always be better in the rivalry."
This Kid's Pretty Good

Missouri has had some great wrestlers over the years. But none of them ever did what J'Den Cox did. After winning four straight Missouri state high school championships at Columbia Hickman, Cox started his college career the same way. The No. 2 national seed beat top-seeded Nick Heflin in the final match of the 197-pound weight class at the NCAA Championships on March 22nd and became just the 14th true freshman ever to win an individual NCAA wrestling title. Cox became the fifth national champ in Mizzou history and his 38-2 record set the school mark for the best winning percentage over a full season.
How the East Was Won
We weren't going to put five football games on this list. But after last season, we had to include two. Which two? Do you go with sheer drama or do you go with the stage? From a dramatic view, the South Carolina game was probably the best of the year. And while it is one most fans won't soon forget, in the end, a loss didn't change anything about the season or take any goals off the table. The Georgia win was historic, from the Michael Sam touchdown to Bud Sasser's pass to the true debut of Maty Mauk. It was the first step in this historic season, but there were bigger steps along the way. The Cotton Bowl was wildly entertaining, but in the end, was the same thing every bowl game but one is: A relatively meaningless exhibition. So that leaves us with two games.
The week leading up to Missouri's 28-21 win over Texas A&M matched just about any in Tiger history for hype. Put it up there with the buildup to Armageddon at Arrowhead or the SEC debut against Georgia. Missouri was 60 minutes from the SEC Championship Game. All that was standing in its way was the most dynamic player in college football. Hell, the sport became his last name.

The Tiger defense bottled up Johnny Manziel, holding him to fewer yards than he'd ever produced in a game he started as an Aggie. E.J. Gaines made all-world wideout Mike Evans a non-factor.
But in the end, this game is remembered for a 57-yard run that should be in the class picture as the biggest play in Missouri football history. With three minutes and 34 seconds to play, Missouri and A&M were tied. A loss would mean South Carolina would play in the SEC title game and Missouri's season would be very good, but ultimately remembered for two heartbreaking losses. Henry Josey didn't let that happen.
On third-and-short, Josey took a handoff, found a hole and stepped over an Aggie defender. From there, it was pure speed and Josey has always had plenty of that. The touchdown--and the defensive stop that ensued--sent Mizzou to the SEC Championship Game against Auburn. Michael Sam was the story of this season. There were bigger names and, maybe, better players. But Henry Josey was the heartbeat of the 12-and-2 Missouri Tigers of 2013.
"Couldn't have been a better guy," L'Damian Washington, who knows a little something about heart, said after the game. "Fought back. He's relentless. His personality basically reflects and describes this team. Relentless, fighters, competitors and I told him, I said, 'Man, I love you. I'm proud of you.' Great dude."
The fans stormed the field. They milled about, they sang, they looked for someone to hug. They stayed. And they stayed. Nobody wanted to leave. As I wrote that night: "The team that isn't supposed to be there will play for the SEC Championship thanks to the guy that was never supposed to play again."
This list is in no order. If it was, it would be virtually impossible not to rank this No. 1.

"That was fitting," Gary Pinkel said. "What a great play. What a great kid."
So Close, and Yet So Far

Josey's run gave Missouri a chance not only at the SEC title, but a spot in the national championship game as well. I have told many people in the months since the 59-42 loss to Auburn that if you had nothing invested in who won, it might well have been the most exciting college football game you've ever seen.
Two heavyweight offenses traded haymakers in a dizzying first half that left Auburn up 28-27 at the break. In the second 30 minutes, the Auburn defense finally got a couple of stops, while the Mizzou defense could not. Tre Mason ran for (unofficial) three million yards on twenty thousand carries and Auburn's charmed season continued while Missouri's fell a few minutes short of the sport's ultimate game for the second time in seven seasons.
That they were there was the story of Missouri's 2013 football season. That they couldn't quite take that final step is what has lingered in the memories of many since early December. In year two, Missouri played for an SEC championship. Many thought it would never happen. All thought it would take far longer than this. The Tigers' quest came up one game short. The journey begins again in a few weeks.
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