Kansas now can fire Mark Mangino with cause.
‘Cause the KU coach can’t manage the clock. ‘Cause Mangino was handed the game by his almost-equally-inept clock manager, Gary Pinkel. ‘Cause it cost Kansas a bowl game and face in one of the nation’s most hate-filled rivalries.
If this is the way it goes down for Mangino – accused with verbally and physically assaulting players -- Kansas could fire its coach for nothing more than losing. Kansas did plenty of that dropping its final seven after a 5-0 start. This one, though, has a certain air of stupidity to it.
Stupid decisions. Stupid play calls. A stupid way to end a season for Kansas which has had to deal with enough turmoil.
The game was won, Pinkel had seen to it, by punting from his own 39 on fourth and 2 with slightly more than three minutes left, down by three. With only one timeout left, there was a good chance Missouri would never see the ball again. It was a better bet to go for it instead of watching KU’s unstoppable offense bleed the clock.
Kansas had moved the ball all day. Dezmon Briscoe alone caught 15 passes in what was probably his last game before the NFL. It wasn’t a day when Missouri’s defense distinguished itself.
Given the gift, all Mangino’s offense had to do was pick up a couple of first downs and take a couple of knees. It took exactly 14 seconds off the clock.
Missouri’s punt landed inside the Kansas 5. Still, there was plenty of room to make those first downs. Instead, Todd Reesing came out passing. Incomplete. Twice. On third down he tried to run a quarterback draw from his own end zone.
Predictably, Reesing was tackled for a safety cutting the lead to one. Given the short field on the free kick, Missouri drove easily for the game-winning field goal.
It was enough to make a man lose his temper. Fortunately, Mangino was able to maintain his. It will all be over soon anyway. Maybe this week when Kansas formally fires Mangino for cause – not related to football.
But it could be.