Oh, how Brian Long longed to beat Kansas on Saturday night.
"Anytime you get a chance to play Kansas, you are fired up. I hate this school and I think most Missouri schools do," Long, a junior from Lee's Summit, Mo., said after missing three of four field goal tries in Southwest Missouri State's 24-10 loss to KU at Memorial Stadium.
"We were right with them the whole time. If I make those three kicks we're in it at the end."
Long, who transferred to NCAA Div. I-AA SMS after playing two seasons at the University of Missouri, hit a 47-yard field goal try in the second quarter.
But Long also was short on one try from 45 yards, was wide left on a 27-yarder and hit the left upright on a 30-yarder.
"I don't know if in the whole two-a-days I missed that many," Long said. "Needless to say, that's not what I expected. My teammates expect more out of me and are going to get more out of me. It just wasn't there tonight. There's nothing else to say."
Long's three misses proved costly, as did a gift touchdown. SMS quarterback Austin Moherman was sacked by KU's Algie Atkinson at the SMS nine-yard line. David McMillan scooped the ball at the two and scored to give KU a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.
"The fumble sticks out," said Moherman, who completed 15 of 32 yards for 185 yards with one interception and was sacked four times. "We didn't pick him (Atkinson) up, but I've still got to hold onto the ball. Regardless of it being IA or I-AA we had our chances. Three missed field goals and the fumble, plus a big play we couldn't get over the hump."
KU quarterback Zach Dyer hit Derick Mills on a 43-yard pass pattern in the second quarter for a score as KU led 21-10 at the break.
Just three points were scored the second half.
"To win against an upper-level team, you've got to cash in. We had too many missed opportunities," Southwest Missouri State coach Randy Ball said. "You can't miss three field goals and miss some scoring opportunities and give up a touchdown on a fumble. Take away those and you have a pretty good ballgame.
"For the most part you take away one big play for a touchdown and I'm pleased with our defense."
He didn't blame the loss of starting tailback Jason Ringena, who missed the opener with a leg injury. Five Bears' backs rushed for 119 yards on 36 carries.
"The other kids stepped up and did the job. We will rotate a lot of backs in and out," Ball said.
SMS defensive back Kendrick Shaver said the Jayhawks' no-huddle offense, which accounted for 333 yards to SMS' 243, was effective.
"We came up here knowing we can play with those boys, no doubt. (But) they had a lot more bodies than us," Shaver said. "The no-huddle, with all the bodies in Div. I it just wore us out.
"I will not shoot the bull. It did wear me out. I caught some cramps which tells me I need some extra conditioning this week."
Linebacker P.J. Jones praised KU sophomore Dyer, who completed 19 of 29 passes for 231 yards and a TD with two interceptions. He also rushed for 41 yards on 12 carries and a score.
"He was great for his first game. I remember how nervous I was my first game," said Jones, a senior. "You can tell he's a leader."
"He looked a couple of us off," Shaver said. "Not a lot of quarterbacks are able to do that. A couple times he looked one way, threw another. I thought he played a good game."