Once again our #2 performance for 2008 comes to us from Arrowhead in Kansas City and the Border War. One of the big questions going into the game was how would the Kansas defense, one soundly beaten by some of the better spread offenses all season long, would respond against the potent Missouri spread led by Chase Daniel. While it’s hard to say the Jayhawk defense shutdown Missouri they did do enough and force enough mistakes to give pull out the win.
The #2 performance brings our 2nd defensive performance of the countdown and one that came from a player very familiar with this rivalry. A local product out of Kansas City, Kansas who grew up near Arrowhead and in what one would have to assume a dream scenario for him was the fire under a strong defensive outing for the Jayhawks.
Darrell Stuckey the 6’1” 205 pound safety out of Kansas City Kansas had shown he was a player at many points in the year. However, his performance against border rival Missouri was by far his most memorable of 2008 and might go down as the performance that defines his career.
As expected Missouri would get its fair share of offense in game, but not necessarily the way everyone expected. Chase Daniel was held to just 288 yards through the air, but both he and running back Derrick Washington were potent on the ground putting together 190 yards. The common belief by the pundits going into the game was that Kansas stood little chance of stopping the Missouri attack and with an offense that had sputtered at times in the season would need turnovers to pull off the upset. The good news for Kansas was, they were right and Kansas did it.
Darrell Stuckey was the player to make that happen single handedly for Kansas. Early in the game he intercepted Chase Daniel deep in Missouri territory to give Kansas the early lead. Later on a long Chase Daniel scramble, one that could have very well gotten the Missouri attack on track, Stuckey caught Daniel from behind, forced the fumble and recovered it as well. Finally late in the game with Missouri threatening Stuckey intercepted yet another Chase Daniel pass tiptoeing the sideline to make the play. Missouri still opportunities to win and Kansas’ offense answered and ultimately won the game for the Jayhawks, but the performance by Stuckey afforded the Jayhawks a few extra opportunities to make it happen.
In the end Stuckey would finish tied for the team lead in tackles with 6. He would force three turnovers, with 2 interceptions, 1 forced fumble and recovering that same fumble. Facing an explosive offense that relies on timing and moving the ball with ease, Stuckey put a wrench in the plans and made his own storyline for the border war, earning him the #2 performance of 2008.