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Archive for Sunday, November 5, 1995

RIVALRY MELLOWS SOME OVER YEARS

November 5, 1995

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Some fans say the rivalry isn't what it used to be. Others keep it alive.

There was the obligatory, muffled "boo" when Missouri's football team ran onto the field, followed by a respectable thunder when the Kansas Jayhawks stormed onto Memorial Stadium's artificial turf Saturday afternoon.

But was there anything left of the passion -- as fans of both teams fondly recalled Saturday -- that once permeated the oldest college football rivalry west of the Mississippi?

Did anybody at the game, played under a clear autumn sky, give a Jayhawk hoot or a Tiger roar about the gridiron history shared by teams that first fought for interstate bragging rights in 1891?

"I might have cared 20 years ago," said Ned Kluever, a 1979 KU graduate who played for the Kansas University marching band as a student. "We always got pretty pumped when we went to Missouri." Kluever now lives near Des Moines, Iowa, and brought his wife and two sons to Saturday's game.

Matt McCready, a KU junior from Prairie Village who played trombone Saturday in the marching band, said, "I think it's less intense than it used to be, especially since when I grew up, especially this year."

For Sgt. Rose Rozmiarek of the Kansas University Police, it was just another game -- nothing like the trouble she anticipates when hordes of Nebraska fans roll into Lawrence for the season's home finale next week.

But the Mizzou game was something beyond ordinary for Jon Waynick, 23, a 1995 KU graduate who watched with friends from Memorial Stadium's student section.

"I hate Missouri," said Waynick, an architect from Kansas City, Mo. "I'm going to come back to this game for years. Can't miss it."

Others, however, have been attending the KU-Missouri game since long before Waynick was born.

"I think it's lost something from what it used to be," said Keith Kadlic, 70, a retired engineer and diehard Missouri fan from Kansas City, Mo.

He went to his first KU-Missouri game in 1942 in Colombia, when the Tigers trounced KU 42-13.

For him, the biggest Mizzou game of this season was last week, when they played Oklahoma.

"Our defense, except for losing, really showed a lot of moxie," he said.

KU fans would rather forget last week, when Kansas State crushed the Jayhawks 41-7 in Manhattan.

Still, for many KU fans, the game against Kansas State took precedence this year over the game against Missouri. Both KU and K-State have strong teams this year, while Missouri has struggled.

"I think if Missouri had a better season, it would make it more like it used to be," said Gene Schillie of Mission, a 1953 MU graduate. "But I like it. It's a great rivalry. I never miss the Kansas-Missouri game. I haven't for years."

Mike Clarkin, a social worker from Topeka who went to KU in the mid-'70s, said, "It used to be the last game of the season. It would be miserable weather and they'd still pack everyone in. Today we have a beautiful day and it won't be full. Something's lacking."

The game wasn't a sellout, so fans like Carl Gallagher of Lawrence and his 11-year-old son, Brendan, could move down to empty front-row seats behind the north goal post.

They came hungry for a KU win and got one, 42-23, narrowing Missouri's edge in the 104-year series to 48-47, with nine ties.

"I always hope Missouri loses," said Gallagher, a lawyer and a 1974 KU graduate. "With Kansas State, I hope they do well except when they play us. With Missouri, I hope they always lose."

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