As Pete Scantlebury settles in, I’m getting ready to head out the RMN door. So consider this a valedictory series of sorts. I’ve been in Columbia for just over 20 years and just over 20 football seasons. Time to list some of my favorite things from that time. So far we’ve looked at quarterbacks, Faurot Field crowds, and tight ends. Now let’s talk about leaving town.
Now, let me make something clear from the start: this is about the performance, not necessarily the magnitude of the game. If it were the latter, then obviously games like 2014 South Carolina would need to make the list; that was a huge game. It was also three-quarters of a horrible performance.
No, this is a list of the times Mizzou most vociferously made me say “DAMN!” in someone else’s stadium, probably followed by “I did not expect this!” In a good way.
5. 2010: Mizzou 30, Texas A&M 9
Mizzou had just entered the top 25 after shutting out Colorado to move to 5-0, but the Tiger offense was laboring at times. They eked by a bad Illinois, 23-13, and needed the Moe Miracle to beat San Diego State. Even against Colorado, the defense looked great, but the offense just eased ahead, beginning the game with a bunch of three-and-outs and only gaining 345 yards total.
The fan base was a little bit unsettled, then, when the Tigers went to College Station to face an A&M team that would beat Oklahoma a few weeks later and finish with nine wins.
The offense didn’t start incredibly well against A&M early on. Mizzou took a 6-0 lead on Blaine Gabbert’s short TD pass to Wes Kemp (and a blocked PAT), but those were the only points in Mizzou’s first five possessions. When they turned the ball over on downs in A&M territory early in the second quarter, it felt like the dam was about to break in the Aggies’ favor. But then...
- Mizzou forces another punt (A&M’s fifth straight to start the game)
- The offense drives 77 yards in 12 plays, and a 24-yard pass to Kemp sets up a short Kendial Lawrence score
- A&M punts twice more, and Mizzou drives 59 yards in 91 seconds to set up a Grant Ressel field goal and 16-0 halftime lead.
- A&M starts the second half by driving into Mizzou territory but is driven right back out after two sacks by Brad Madison.
- Gabbert completes a 45-yarder to T.J. Moe to set up a 10-yard score to, once again, Kemp. 23-0.
- A&M finally gets on the board with a field goal, but a big Marcus Murphy return and a 20-yard Moe score put the game away.
Mizzou took on an excellent team in road confines, gained 417 yards, and took a 27-point lead into the fourth quarter. Damn.
4. 2006: Mizzou 38, Texas Tech 21
Gary Pinkel teams usually enjoyed playing Mike Leach teams. A year before the Tigers destroyed Tech at home, they went to Lubbock and put together one of the wildest bursts you’ll ever see, going up 24-0 early in the second quarter, letting Tech creep to within 24-21, then putting the game away.
There were three “DAMN!” plays in this one:
- Xzavie Jackson’s leaping interception and return and to make it 17-0.
- William Moore’s pick six on the very next play. Mizzou had Graham Harrell so thrown that he had to be removed from the game for a minute.
- Chase Daniel’s hilarious, partially-stupid run at the 58-second or so mark of ZouDave’s highlight video.
3. 2008: Mizzou 52, Nebraska 17
I don’t even know how to describe this one. This game, and the 69-17 win over Nevada a couple of games earlier, were the peak of the Chase Daniel offense at Missouri. Mizzou could score whenever it wanted to, giving the ball to whoever it wanted to.
The peak, of course, means there’s nowhere to go but down, and Mizzou, up to third in the AP poll, was upset by Oklahoma State the very next week. But the ease of this win was stunning.
2. 2007: Mizzou 55, Colorado 10
The buzz out of Boulder heading into this game was that CU head coach Dan Hawkins wanted to take the fight to Daniel and company, playing as physically as possible and deploying single-high safety coverage. I remember thinking, “Wait, you’re going to play one safety deep? Against this team? Isn’t that the direct opposite of what you’re supposed to do?”
Daniel evidently thought the same thing.
- Will Franklin caught passes of 72 and 37 yards.
- Jeremy Maclin caught a 46-yard touchdown.
- Jared Perry caught a 45-yarder.
- Chase Coffman caught 25- and 23-yard touchdowns.
- Danario Alexander caught a 31-yarder.
Admittedly, Mizzou was a bit frazzled at first. The Tigers scored just once on their first five drives, and an interception and blocked punt set up 10 Colorado points. But then Mizzou scored on eight of 10 possessions.
Daniel finished 26-for-44 for 421 yards and five touchdowns, and Coffman maybe did more Coffman things than he’d ever done before. This was one tight quarter, followed by maybe the three giddiest quarters I’ve ever seen from Mizzou on the road.
1. 2013: Mizzou 41, Georgia 26
I wrote about this game a bit last summer, too.
Let’s count the plot points from the 2013 Mizzou-Georgia game, one I called Mizzou’s No. 4 SEC moment so far.
1. After trading early punts, Georgia drives 86 yards and scores on a seven-yard pass from Aaron Murray to Brendan Douglas to take a 7-0 lead with 3:44 left in the first quarter.
2. Mizzou responds with an explosive 79-yard drive, capped by a five-yard James Franklin run, to tie the game before the end of the quarter.
3. Mizzou forces a three-and-out, and one pass to Washington sets up a scoring pass to Washington. 14-7, MU.
4. Tiger cornerback E.J. Gaines gets hurt. He will miss the next week’s battle with South Carolina (one in which Mizzou could have really used someone to cover Bruce Ellington).
5. Georgia kicks a field goal, but a 36-yard Marcus Murphy run on third-and-5 gives Mizzou a 21-10 lead with six minutes left in the half.
6. Shane Ray sacks Murray, and the ball bounces into Michael Sam’s hands. He returns it 21 yards for a score. 28-10. Georgia drives to the Mizzou 10 with 90 seconds left in the half, but Douglasfumbles, and Markus Golden recovers. Mizzou’s up 18 at half. The lead doesn’t feel even slightly safe.
7. A 57-yard J.J. Green run sets up a Dawg field goal to start the second half, and Mizzou’s offense has gone into a shell. The Tigers move the chains once in two drives, and Murray finds Rontavious Wooten for a seven-yard score to make it 28-20 to end the third quarter.
8. After another Mizzou punt, Georgia proceeds to drive 58 yards and scores on Murray-to-Chris Conley pass. The 2-point conversion is no good, but Mizzou’s lead is down to 28-26.
9. James Franklin gets hurt. He separates his shoulder and will miss the next month. Redshirt freshman Maty Mauk enters the game and runs for six yards on third-and-six. One play later, he fires a backwards pass to Bud Sasser, who lobs the ball deep to a pretty well-covered Washington. Washington hauls in the 40-yard bomb despite defensive pass interference.
10. Andrew Baggett misses the PAT. Mizzou is up only 34-26. Still a one-possession game with 9:22 left. Gulp.
11. Mizzou’s defense stiffens. Golden sacks Murray to end one drive, and after Mizzou punts, Randy Ponder picks off a Murray pass at the UGA 39.
12. Mauk connects on a 20-yard pass to Dorial Green-Beckham, and one play later, Henry Josey dives into the end zone to ice a 41-26 win. Kentrell Brothers picks off a pass, and Mizzou finishes the game in victory formation.
This remains one of the best highlight packages Mizzou Network has ever thrown together:
And if you’d prefer to just watch the entire game on this fine Saturday morning, have at it.