We've spoken a lot about that crazy 1976 season, and we've gone in detail about the win over Ohio State ... but perhaps the most impressive performance of the entire decade happened two weeks before the whirlwind trip to Columbus.
Since his inaugural 1971 season (in which Mizzou went 1-10), Al Onofrio had brought pretty consistently decent results to Columbia. The problem was, a) they weren't as decent as what Dan Devine had produced, and b) there hadn't been improvement for a while. The Tigers followed an 8-4 season in 1973 with 7-4 in 1974 and 6-5 in 1975, and while upset wins -- Nebraska in 1973 and 1974, Alabama in 1975 -- were great, consistency was nowhere to be found.
Mizzou fans hadn't seen anything yet.
The craziest season in Mizzou history started with a bang, with Mizzou waltzing into the L.A. Coliseum and not only upsetting a Top 10 USC team, but thumping them.
It all went right from the start. In strangely rainy conditions, USC's opening drive ended with a botched punt snap, setting up an easy Mizzou touchdown. After the Trojans responded with seven points of their own, Curtis Brown took the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. Mizzou led 13-7, and they hadn't thrown a pass yet. Mizzou led 16-10 when Steve Pisarkiewicz found Leo Lewis for a 20-yard score with 2:15 left in Q2, and it looked like Mizzou would take a 23-10 lead into half. Nope. USC would have to punt, and Brown took a swing pass 49 yards for another score and a shocking 30-10 lead. It was 33-10 when Lewis applied the dagger, taking a reverse 24 yards for a touchdown.
This was not just a run-of-the-mill upset. Not only had Mizzou handled the wet conditions better than USC, but they were faster than USC as well. New Trojan coach John Robinson's tenure had not started as planned; had Mizzou taken advantage of an overrated team? Nope. USC would win the final 11 games on their schedule and finish No. 2 in the country; this was an outstanding team, and Mizzou had squashed them like a bug.