The “That’s another first down ... M-I-Z!” call-and-response from the home announcer started that night. The seed that became “gold t-shirts as the norm at Memorial Stadium” was planted that night. The Mizzou home game experience became what we know today on that night.
Missouri welcomed Nebraska to Faurot Field to begin conference play in 2007, and ... it was just a perfect day. It was a night game, so you could tailgate for 12 hours if you chose to (and many did). Our group had a full-fledged shrimp boil. Nobody left early, so the tailgate just began all over again around midnight. It was better than the alternative, sitting in a parked car for a couple of hours.
It was a party in the stands and a coming-out party on the field.
To that point, Mizzou still didn’t completely know what it was capable of. The offense had put up massive production totals — 42 points and 544 yards per game — despite, it seemed, never quite reaching fifth gear. But the defense had given up just as many yards and nearly as many points in wins over Illinois and Ole Miss, and wins over WMU and Illinois hadn’t completely quelled concerns. It was obvious that the Tigers were good, but until the defense got all the arrows pointed in the right direction, there was a pretty fixed ceiling.
Following a bye week, the defense got all the arrows pointed in the right direction.
The game started perfectly. Mizzou drove 80 yards for a touchdown (a one-yard Chase Daniel spurt), forced a three-and-out, then drove 79 yards for another score (a six-yard pass from Daniel to Chase Coffman). Ten minutes in, it was 14-0.
What followed was a familiar “Mizzou takes its foot off the gas” lull — NU kicks a field goal, Mizzou punts, and NU drives back into Mizzou territory — but it didn’t last too long. Nebraska punted, the teams traded a few field goals, and the Tigers took a reasonably safe 20-6 lead into halftime. A strong NU offense had moved the ball, but Mizzou’s impeccable red zone defensive work had continued.
The third quarter was nearly perfect.
- Nebraska lost 11 yards going three-and-out, and Daniel capped a 64-yard drive with a three-yard score. 27-6.
- Pig Brown — of course — picked off a Sam Keller pass at Mizzou’s 21, and after a 26-yard pass to Coffman, Daniel found Danario Alexander floating over the middle of the field. He threw it high, but Alexander snared it and galloped 48 yards for the touchdown. 34-6.
- NU drove into Mizzou territory again, but Van Alexander and Tommy Chavis stuffed Cody Glenn for no gain on fourth-and-1. The third quarter ended with Mizzou at NU’s 21. And two minutes into the fourth quarter came a big load of salt in an open wound: Mizzou faked a field goal. Tommy Saunders pitched to Martin Rucker, who juked a defender and surged into the end zone. 41-6.
That was a pretty common score, or close to it, in the Missouri-Nebraska rivalry. The Huskers had beaten the Tigers by a 42-7 margin in both 1994 and 1987. They had also won 36-3 in 2001, 40-10 in 1999, 51-7 in 1996, 57-0 in 1995, 49-7 in 1993, 63-6 in 1991, and 50-7 in 1989.
Gary Pinkel sent a message as loud as he possibly could, and he backed it up by chuckling when the Rucker fake worked: Missouri wanted to be the new boss in the Big 12 North. And for at least a couple of years, the Tigers were just that.
The game was over with plenty of time to spare, but no one left. The crowd did the wave throughout much of the fourth quarter, and the night was so pleasant that it didn’t even feel particularly lame. It was, after all, a party.
- Total yards: Mizzou 606, Nebraska 297
- Chase Daniel: 33-for-47, 401 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions, no sacks, and 11 carries for 72 yards and two scores
- Rucker and Coffman: 15 catches, 184 yards, two TDs
- Jeremy Maclin: four catches for 62 yards, six carries for 53 yards
- Alexander and Will Franklin: nine catches for 112 yards and a score
- Brown and William Moore: six solo tackles, seven assists, a tackle for loss, an INT, and a breakup