November 4, 2006

Tigers take loss to Nebraska hard

Xzavie Jackson tried to deny it. He tried to deflect the pain.

"It's not that important," Jackson said. "It's just a football game."

But wet, red-rimmed eyes said far more than Jackson's hollow words. The Missouri Tigers had let an opportunity to put one hand on the Big 12 North championship slip away and most players admitted the team was taking it hard.

What was the mood in the locker room?

"Crap," said senior linebacker Marcus Bacon.

That pretty much summed it up.

"We're taking it real hard," said wideout William Franklin. "Knowing what this game meant for us and being in this position two straight years in a row, it's really hard right now."

The Tigers, both players and coaches, preferred not to focus on the third loss in four games. Instead, they looked forward to a bye week and two remaining games against Iowa State and Kansas that could still give the Tigers nine regular season wins for the first time in 37 years.

"If they want to say it, let them say it," Chase Daniel said when asked if this was the same old Mizzou. "We know that we're a different team and we can still have a great season. Nine wins, that's a lot. We had seven last year. It can't come all at once. Everyone wishes and hopes it does, but (we're) just taking baby steps."

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