Mizzou 25: Elite Eight

UPDATE: Called after 106 votes.  Pig takes it, 54%-45%.

It's Elite Eight time for Mizzou 25, the tournament to decide the best, most influential, most likable Mizzou athlete of the past 25 years!

Mizzou 25 has been 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 Harold "Spider" Burke Region (fan favorites).  To see where the bracket currently stands, click here.  We are to the regional finals!

Here are your Elite Eight matchups:

3/24: Melvin Booker vs Anthony Peeler (Norm Stewart Region)
3/25: Brad Smith vs Chase Daniel (Larry Smith Region)
3/26: Ben Askren vs Lindsey Hunter (Joann Rutherford Region)
3/27: Pig Brown vs Demontie Cross (Harold "Spider" Burke Region)

Mizzou's hardest-hitting safety of the '00s versus Mizzou's hardest-hitting safety of the '90s.  Apparently hard-hitting safeties are fan favorites!

Pig Brown vs Demontie Cross

vs

2006-07

1994-96

Rptgwb: If you were to build a human out of the 2007 football team, it might look something like this: Chase Daniel was the face, Gary Pinkel the brains, Lorenzo Williams the mouth, William Moore the hands, and Martin Rucker/Chase Coffman the "juevos." But only one player was the heart: Pig Brown. Our fair Cornelius may have saved Mizzou's season on several occasions before anyone even knew how special of a season it would turn out to be. Against Illinois, his 100+ yard fumble return was a 14-point swing that completely changed the momentum of that game. Later, his interception iced it and gave Mizzou its signature non-conference win. Once conference play began, Pig was all over the field. Against Nebraska, his thundering (albeit illegal) hit on Maurice Purify helped set the tone in the secondary for the unit to become one of the most punishing in the Big 12. Against Texas Tech, where the physicality of his secondary became VERY apparent, Pig turned the "Air Raid" offense into his personal playground. He finished the day with 14 tackles, 4.5 of them for loss, as well as a pick and two breakups. His injury against Iowa State could have been devastating, but both Pig and the Tigers refused to let "Brian Smith syndrome" kill the momentum they'd built early in the season. His emotional contribution to his team and the program was actually most apparent when Gary Pinkel broke his own rule to allow the injured Pig to travel to road games, helping spur Mizzou to a 55-10 thumping of Colorado in Boulder. Pig may have only been on the field for eight games in only one year with Mizzou, but for a website that loves stats like "points per play," I'd be hard pressed to find someone with more "contribution to the program per appearance" than Pig Brown. Art: For many years, he was the only tackler standing between a ball carrier and the endzone, and he always made the open field tackle.  For a while he was the leading tackler in MU football history.

The Boy: When I came to school in '97, Demontie Cross, the 6'4, 210 transfer from St. Louis (via Univ. of Illinois) had already gone from human being to myth.  To listen to the stories, he prevented 150 TDs by himself (hell, the numbers almost back that up) while playing with two separated shoulders, one kneecap, a broken ankle, and both a sports hernia and a regular hernia (whatever the difference is).  He'd crush somebody, somehow drag himself to his feet, then do it again.

How hard did Demontie hit?  Try 9 forced fumbles in his last 22 games as a Tiger.  How well did he tackle?  Not only did he become Mizzou's all-time leading tackler in just three seasons, but he also had 249 solo tackles!  He was the last person standing between opponents and the endzone so often, and his heroic efforts allowed hope for the future to build as young offensive players like Corby Jones and Brock Olivo and Devin West developed.

I talk a lot on RMN about Success Rates and stats like that, but the definitive proof that I don't yet know what I'm talking about when it comes to defensive stats is that I'm pretty sure Demontie Cross wouldn't have scored very well when it came to Success Rates.  If there were a TDs Saved category, however...Cross would be #1 all-time.  And if ever there were a Tiger who deserved more team success than he got, it was Demontie.
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