Mizzou 25: Larry Smith Regional (Quarterfinal #1)

UPDATE: Called after 78 votes...Moore wins 60%-39%.

It's Mizzou 25, the tournament to decide the best, most influential, most likable Mizzou athlete of the past 25 years!  It's like Who's Now or The Greatest Highlight, only, uhh, cool.  

Mizzou 25 is set up in four 8-athlete regions: the Norm Stewart Region (basketball), the Larry Smith Region (football), the Joann Rutherford Region (all sports), and the Spider Region (fan favorites).  Here's the Mizzou 25 bracket in all its resplendent glory.

With Round One of the Norm Stewart Regional in the books, we move to the Larry Smith Regional.  Here are the matchups.

3/2: Brock Olivo vs William Moore
3/3: Justin Gage vs Brad Smith
3/4: Justin Smith vs Martin Rucker
3/5: Corby Jones vs Chase Daniel

Brock Olivo vs William Moore

vs

1994-97

2005-08

Stats
  1. 614 rushing yards, 5 TDs
  1. 985 rushing yards, 6 TDs
  1. 749 rushing yards, 5 TDs
  1. 701 rushing yards, 11 TDs

Record: 18-27-1
Bowl Wins: 0

Stats
  1. 30 tackles, 1 INT, 1 TD, 1 FF
  1. 51 tackles, 1 INT, 1 TD, 1 FR, 1.5 tackles for loss
  1. 117 tackles, 8 INTs, 1 TD, 2 FF, 9 tackles for loss, 2 sacks

Record: 27-12
Bowl Wins: 2

The Beef: All the stats, all the stories, all of that aside.  I have one story about Brock that pretty much summed him all up.

I don’t believe it is any secret that Brock and I were personal friends from college starting in 1995.  This moment came during THE game in 1997 of course, as the 1st half wound down.  Mizzou had been trading punches (as Musberger said) all 1st half and was still in the game, down 21-17 but with NU driving towards a potential back-breaking TD.  But fortune smiled as Shad Criss picked off a terrible-Scott Frost pass and returned it to the Husker 34.  I saw the play happen as I was making my way down the steps between the grass in the south and the stands to the east.  I walked along the track during the timeout for change of possession, and then it happened.  Corby dropped back, faked a hand-off and found Olivo wide-open over the middle.  Olivo, never really considered fleet of foot, rumbled and dove into the endzone breaking some last gasp tackles to put Mizzou back in front 24-21.

And Faurot shook.

And to this day, I maintain it was not a "the house was rocking" shake.  I mean, it shook.  Like "lost your bearings for a second" shook.

Years later, I was re-telling my experience of that particular play with him and some other friends, to which Brock said, "You felt that too?  I almost lost my balance getting up when I was in the endzone."

Who knows what it was that day, but the man partly responsible for the play that shook mighty Faurot to its oft-mentioned bedrock foundation and partly responsible for the resurgence of the program in 1997 and 1998 (even in his absence) is another nominee for the Mizzou 25.

The Boy: William Moore hits as hard as Demontie Cross and has a nose for the ball like Roger Wherli.  He raps like he’s a member of Three 6 Mafia.  He drives around what looks like a pimped out, black & gold Ford Taurus.  He lives and breathes Mizzou, and he might end his career as the best safety to ever play at Mizzou.

Few pick their moments like Willy Mo.

^ As a backup safety in 2005, he made his first splash against Iowa State by picking off a Bret Meyer pass and taking it to the house in a game that Mizzou ultimately won in overtime.  

^ Seeing Xzavie Jackson score on a pick six against Texas Tech in 2006, he decided it looked pretty fun and yanked the next Graham Harrell pass out of the arms of the intended Red Raider receiver and, again, took it to the house.  

^ When Mizzou needed a tone-setter in front of 70K against Nebraska in 2007, it was Willy Mo who absolutely obliterated Marlon Lucky on a swing pass.  

^ When Pig Brown went down for the season and Mizzou needed someone to pick up the slack, there Moore was, crushing and picking off Cody Hawkins.  

^ And picking off Stephen McGee.  

^ And Josh Freeman.  

^ At Arrowhead, when KU finally got some offensive momentum going and tried for the homerun ball, Moore picked it off.  

^ In the Cotton Bowl, when Felix Jones broke a long gain into Mizzou territory, Moore stripped him of the ball.  And then ended the season with another pick six.

And best of all, Moore has decided to come back for an encore in 2008.

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