In an effort to look back fondly at the successes of Tiger football, the Rock M Nation football staff compiled and ranked the greatest games of the past 20 years. There’s no science or math involved here: we simply listed what we thought were the 20 best games of the past 20 years and counted the votes. We’ll start with the games getting the fewest votes and work our way up to #1.
2008: No. 6 Missouri 52 - No. 20 Illinois 42
Fresh off a 12-2 2007 season capped off with a Cotton Bowl victory against Arkansas, expectations were very high heading into the 2008 season for the Missouri Tigers as they entered the year No. 6 in the preseason AP Top 25, the highest ranking entering Week 1 in program history.
The 2008 season was the last ride for quarterback Chase Daniel and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, and their opening game featured a much anticipated contest against the 20th ranked Illinois Fighting Illini in the Arch Rivalry Game at the Edward Jones Dome.
Perhaps Mizzou had a little chip on their shoulders after they were snubbed from a BCS bowl bid in 2007 and saw both of their rivals, Illinois and kansas, get invites — despite beating them both.
There were points galore in this game, as there was not a zero to be found on the four quarter box score. The two teams combined for 94 points and 1,081 total yards.
It was Illinois who took their first lead of the game, 13-10 with 9:25 left to go in the 2nd quarter after Chase Daniel threw a pick six.
Then, Jeremy Maclin happened.
All Missouri needed was a momentum changing score, and boy did the Tigers get it immediately. Maclin returned the ensuing kick-off 99 yards for a touchdown, giving Missouri a 17-13 lead.
It was safe to say that completely changed the game, as Illinois never had the lead again. Chase Daniel also threw for three touchdown passes, and Sean Weatherspoon sealed the deal with 35-yard pick-six to give the Tigers a 52-35 lead.
This win marked the fourth straight victory by Missouri in the Arch Rivalry series and jump-started them to a 5-0 record to begin the 2008 season.