KANSAS CITY, MO--Greg Bracey grabbed the drum awarded annually to the winner of the Missouri-Kansas game and sprinted toward the Tiger fans lining the railing at Arrowhead Stadium.
"We're going to San Antonio," the senior receiver screamed. "We're going to San Antonio!"
In the slightly more than a decade since the Big 12 formed, never has Missouri played in the conference title game. With a 36-28 win over second-ranked Kansas on Saturday night, that drought is over. Mizzou locked up a rematch with Oklahoma at the Alamodome next Saturday night.
"This is something Mizzou hasn't done," said Jeremy Maclin. "It feels good to be the first team to do that."
"We came in in 2003, we said this is what we wanted to do," Lorenzo Williams said. "We said we were going to do it. We set out on a mission. We ran six games off in a row."
Those six came since the last time the Tigers faced Oklahoma, a 41-31 loss in Norman on October 13th. It is the Tigers' only defeat of the season.
"We're happy we're playing OU again," Maclin said. "We let that one slip away."
The heroes on this night were many. William Moore started things with an interception, his school-record tying seventh. Danario Alexander came out of hiding to top 100 yards receiving. Chase Daniel threw for more than 350 yards and three touchdowns while completing more than 80% of his 49 passes. And Williams iced it with a sack of Todd Reesing in the end zone, putting an exclamation point and the final two points on the scoreboard with 12 seconds left.
But all that, nearly immediately, was in the past. As sweet as clinching the North title may have been, already on Saturday night, less than an hour after the final gun, the Tigers were looking forward.
"The goals keep changing every week," Williams said. "We kind of go week by week. Our only goal now is to beat OU. You can't enjoy it at all. You've got to go right in and get to film study."
Even the coach was already looking forward. As he held the Big 12 North champions trophy in the post game interview room, Gary Pinkel referenced wanting to hold "a rounder one," a nod to the Big 12 championship hardware.
"I only know what it looks like because we have a picture of it in our locker room," Pinkel said.
To get that trophy, and a shot at college football's national title, the Tigers will have to go through the only team to take them down this season.
"We're a different team now," Williams said. "That owing people back and taking out revenge and stuff, that's not how you win football games. You've got to go out there and play your game. It's all about us. It doesn't matter what OU does, we do our job and we can come out with the win."
If they do, it is now certain, Missouri will move on to New Orleans to play in the national title game.