It was touted as a "border war"...
...but what materialized was a massacre beyond Missouri coach Larry Smith's wildest nightmares.
``There really wasn't any phase of our team out there that was worth anything,'' Smith said. ``It was all completely worthless and useless, every bit of it.''
Illinois thoroughly defeated the Tigers 42-0 yesterday at Memorial Stadium. It was Smith's second-worst loss as a head coach. The only other larger margin of defeat was when Pittsburgh shut out Tulane 48-0 in his second year as the Green Wave's head coach.
Illinois fans were giddy by the fourth quarter because the Tigers (0-2) had not converted a first down the entire game. Amidst chants of ``No first down, no first down!'' the Tigers finally made its one and only with 3:39 to play.
Missouri has endured its share of blowouts...
...most prominent being the ``Norman Conquest'' in 1986 when MU lost 77-0 at Oklahoma and last year's 73-0 debacle at Texas A&M. But considering Illinois' domination yesterday, the 42-0 final score doesn't tell the whole story. It might have been the worst loss in the modern history of MU football if you look at the breakdown of MU's output in each game. The facts:
Category OU A&M UI First Downs 12 15 1 Rush yds 165 199 22 Pass yds 33 148 24 Total yds 198 347 46 Total plays 58 59 39 Yds allowed 750 516 540
A word of advice to all ticket holders for Missouri's next home game: Get your money back now.
Go ahead. Revolt. The Tigers did yesterday. They were basically revolting in a 42-0 flop against Illinois, whose offense couldn't tie its shoes right just one week ago in a 10-9 loss to Washington State.
I'm no Ralph Nader, but consider this your consumer-interest tip of the day. You've been sold a bill of not so goods--not by the new coaches but by the old players.
In Texas terminology, this is a case of all hat and no cowboy.
A new breed of cat? Looks like the same bedraggled stray that's been hanging around, lapping from the fans' faith for 10 years.
How did the Tigers break apart so quickly? Illinois qualified as a possible ambush victim after struggling last week with just three field goals. The Illini also flirted with team division this week when a quarterback controversy led to a locker room confrontation--some reports say a fight--between two players.
Instead, the Illini, who ran for 5 yards last week, stuck 359 yards rushing down MU's windpipe.
This one was over early, the Tigers implementing their white jerseys as surrender flags.
I believe it's "all hat and no cattle," but you get the point.
Missouri's offensive line spent most of the day jogging in place...
...trying in vain to clear a path for a sacrificial lot of Tiger running backs.
But the line's highest profile mistake of the day came on a pass attempt.
Starting quarterback Jeff Handy dropped back and hardly had time to set up before Illinois linebacker Simeon Rice leveled him for a 9-yard loss. The sack turned out to be Missouri's loss, too. Handy stayed in two more plays and never returned because of an injured shoulder.
Rice had blown by right tackle Tim Keith almost untouched. ``I got a good jump on the ball, and the ball was hiked,'' Rice said. ``I really came in hard and just ran past him. All I noticed was he was making a feeble attempt at trying to block me, but I was already by him and didn't even break stride.''
The Illinois series, which restarted in 1991...
...could be interrupted again unless the two schools strike a deal soon. Illinois is not on MU's 1995 schedule, and the Illini currently have no openings next season.
If Illinois coach Lou Tepper didn't already want to renew the series, then yesterday's 42-0 victory surely swayed him.
``Not that this had any influence on it,'' Tepper said of the romp. ``I spoke to Larry before the game, and I did mention it to him, that I thought it made a lot more sense for the two of us to play than for us to be playing people on the West Coast or in the Southeast. We're working now on some of those ... schedules, and I would love to have a longer-term contract with Missouri.''
The Tigers' other '95 non-conference games are at Texas Tech on Sept. 2 and Bowling Green at Faurot Field on Sept. 9.