Only one thing was wrong -- the setting. This was the Cotton Bowl, not the national championship game they were a win away from reaching, and it wasn't the Orange, Fiesta or Sugar Bowl either.
Motivated instead of deflated, the guys from the "Show-Me State" did their best to prove they belonged in the BCS by routing Darren McFadden and Arkansas 38-7 on Tuesday.
"We were upset for a couple of days," said Martin Rucker, Missouri's All-American tight end. "We just felt we'd deserved, we'd earned to be in the BCS. But the Cotton Bowl is a great bowl ,and we were honored to be in it."
Properly focused, the only thing left for the Tigers (12-2) was figuring out that Arkansas (8-5) had loaded its defense with cornerbacks and safeties to neutralize Missouri's Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback, Chase Daniel. Temple cracked the code pretty early and had three carries of 22 yards, a 38-yarder and a 41-yarder as part of his 159 yards and two touchdowns by halftime.
Temple pulled a hamstring in the third quarter and missed several series, but said he was ready to return about the same time coach Gary Pinkel heard that Temple was close to breaking the Cotton Bowl rushing record.
He went back for just one play -- a spinning, tackle-breaking 40-yard run into the end zone that gave him the record with 281 yards. Rice's Dicky Maegle had the record, with 265 yards, set in 1954.
McFadden ran 21 times for 105 yards and a touchdown, but didn't play the fourth quarter. He pushed his single-season total to 1,830 yards and his career total to 4,590. The school records are second to Herschel Walker in SEC history. Afterward, McFadden said he hasn't decided whether he'll turn pro.