PowerMizzou - The Top Ten Mizzou Football Games I've Covered
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The Top Ten Mizzou Football Games I've Covered

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There is no postseason basketball. There will be no spring sports. There will be no Mizzou sports until August. So each Sunday for the foreseeable future, I'll be taking a look back at some of the highlights of the history of Mizzou sports. Today, the top ten Mizzou football games I've covered in person.

A note on this list: These are only games I have attended since starting this job in August of 2003. At the bottom of the article, I will include some other games that have happened in my lifetime and in my time on the beat which I was not at personally.

10) Mizzou 38, Florida 17, Nov. 3, 2018

After a 3-0 start, Missouri was 4-4 and the talk about Barry Odom's job was heating back up. Even though the Tigers had won quite a few games in the previous 12 months, they hadn't really beaten a decent team. That changed on this day in the Swamp.

After falling behind 3-0, Mizzou scored 21 straight points and 35 of the next 42. The Tigers got one of the best efforts (maybe the best) of Drew Lock's career as the senior completed 24-of-32 passes for 250 yards, three touchdowns and no turnovers. Damarea Crockett added 119 yards on the ground as Missouri rolled up nearly 500 yards of total offense and won in a laugher.

9) Missouri 52, Nebraska 17, Oct. 4, 2008

As the score indicates, this was not actually a good football game...which is why it was such a good football game. For fans of any age at that point in time, Nebraska was one of the dominant programs in the country for most of the time they had been watching college football. From 1979-2002, the Huskers beat Mizzou 24 consecutive times. The Tigers had turned the tide in the series a bit, winning three of the previous five, but all three had been at home. It had been 30 years since Mizzou had won in Lincoln.

This one was simply never close. On the third play from scrimmage, Jeremy Maclin took a short pass and went 58 yards for a touchdown that gave Mizzou a 7-0 lead after just 59 seconds. Nebraska would tie the game four minutes later, but from that point, the Tigers scored 45 of the next 48 points and led 52-10 before a late Husker touchdown.

Here are Missouri's drives for the game: Touchdown, touchdown, field goal, touchdown, touchdown, missed field goal, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, downs. Every Missouri drive in the game ended in Nebraska territory.

Chase Daniel threw for 253 yards and three touchdowns while Derrick Washington had 139 and two scores on the ground. The win moved Mizzou to 5-0 on the season before the Tigers would lose their next two to fall out of national championship contention. But this game signaled, even more than 2007, that Nebraska no longer ruled the Big 12 North alone.

8) Mizzou 38, Kansas State 12, Nov. 14, 2009

This one was just the Danario game.

Wide receiver Danario Alexander put on one of the great individual performances in Tiger history. He had ten catches for 200 yards and three touchdowns in an effort that earned him Big 12 offensive player of the week.

Alexander made plays in every way possible in this game. It wasn't even statistically the best game of his senior season, in which he set school records for catches (113) and yards (1781) that are unlikely to ever be broken. But probably on no other day was Alexander's complete array of abilities more on display than it was on this day.

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7) Mizzou 62, Texas Tech 31, Oct. 25, 2003

Brad Smith will not go down as the best player in the renaissance of Missouri football. But he will go down as the one that made it possible. Smith was Gary Pinkel's first great player, the one that opened the door for those that would follow him. And perhaps never was he better than on this day against the Red Raiders.

Smith was 13-for-24 for 128 yards passing in the game. He ran the ball 19 times for 291 yards and five touchdowns. As a team, the Tigers ran for 469 with Zack Abron getting 139 of his own.

But it was Smith's day. His first score put Mizzou up 17-3 at the end of a quarter. His second made it 34-10 at halftime. After Tech went on a run to cut the lead to 41-31, Smith scored on runs of 2, 41 and 61 yards in the fourth quarter, the final carry coming on a simple quarterback counter when Mizzou wasn't even trying to score. Texas Tech simply had no answer for Missouri's quarterback.

The defense did its part with three interceptions of B.J. Symons and another of backup Sonny Cumbie, but Brad Smith, as he so often did, stole the show.

6) Auburn 59, Mizzou 42, Dec. 7, 2013

Many will wonder what a loss is doing on the list. Well, it's my list. Deal with it.

This was Missouri's initial appearance in the SEC Championship Game. The winner was almost certainly going to the national championship game. And for three quarters, it looked like Mizzou might just get it done.

The Tigers went blow for blow with Nick Marshall, Tre Mason and the rest of Gus Malzahn's high powered attack for the first 45 minutes. Auburn led 45-42 in a game that featured seven lead changes in the first three quarters.

James Franklin threw for 303 yards and ran for 62. Henry Josey had 123 on the ground and Dorial Green-Beckham had 144 and two touchdowns receiving. But in the end there was just too much Mason. The Auburn back ran 46 times for 304 yards and four touchdowns, including both fourth quarter scores that put the game finally out of reach for Missouri. As a team, Auburn piled up 545 yards on 74 rushing attempts and threw just 11 times.

The result wasn't what the Tigers wanted, but being in the game in their second season in the SEC made a major statement and Mizzou proved it belonged by putting up one hell of a fight in one of the most fun and exciting games I've ever seen in person.

5) Mizzou 28, Texas A&M 21, Nov. 30, 2013

This game is one spot above the SEC Championship game because it allowed the SEC Championship Game to happen.

The Tigers needed a win over the Aggies to clinch their spot in the title game. This wasn't 2012 A&M, but Johnny Manziel wasn't going to make it easy. The game was tied at 21 with four minutes to play and was virtually even across the board statistically up to that point. And then Henry Josey cemented his place in Tiger history.

Josey broke through the left side of the offensive line and galloped 57 yards for a touchdown that put Mizzou up 28-21 with 3:34 to play. The Tiger defense would make the score stand up, sending Mizzou off to Atlanta.

Josey ran for 96 yards, James Franklin accounted for 313 and L'Damian Washington and Dorial Green-Beckham each had more than 90 yards and a touchdown receiving. One of the unsung heroes on the day was Tiger corner E.J. Gaines, who made six tackles and held all-American wideout Mike Evans to four catches for eight yards.

4) Mizzou 36, Oklahoma 27, Oct. 23, 2010

The Sooners came to Columbia No. 1 in the BCS rankings (yeah, remember when those were a thing?) They would leave with their first loss.

The day started on the Quad with College GameDay's first (and last) visit to Columbia. Kickoff would come some ten hours later and Gahn McGaffie would make it memorable, taking the opening kick on a bounce and running it back 87 yards for a touchdown.

It's McGaffie's play that is most remembered, but Oklahoma would recover, taking its first lead at 21-20 with 2:48 left in the third quarter. Just more than two minutes into the fourth, Blaine Gabbert found Jerrell Jackson for a 38-yard touchown that put Mizzou back in front. On Oklahoma's first play of the ensuing drive, Zaviar Gooden intercepted Landry Jones, setting up a Missouri field goal for a 29-21 lead. The Tigers would extend it with another touchdown and hang on for the 36-27 win.

Gabbert threw for 308 yards (139 of them to Jackson) and Mizzou put up 200 on the ground led by DeVion Moore with 80 as the top-ranked team in the country lost for the second week in a row.

3) Mizzou 41, Georgia 26, Oct. 12, 2013

Missouri had done a lot of nice things in the Big 12...but nobody much seemed to care about that in the SEC. This was a new world, one for which everyone assumed the Tigers simply weren't prepared. Missouri had gone 5-7 in its first year in the league. The Tigers were 5-0 entering this game in Athens, but the only league game had been a win over Vanderbilt and nobody knew quite what to make of these Tigers.

Mizzou jumped to a 21-10 lead and then extended it when Shane Ray sacked Aaron Murray, who fumbled. Michael Sam picked it up and scored, pushing Mizzou's halftime advantage to 28-10.

But Georgia wasn't done. The Bulldogs put up 16 straight points, but missed a two-point conversion that would have tied the game early in the fourth quarter. Missouri got the ball back leading 28-26, but would lose starting quarterback James Franklin to a shoulder injury on that possession.

Enter redshirt freshman Maty Mauk. His first play was a six-yard run on third and six. Then he handed to Henry Josey for nine. On second and one, Mauk threw a lateral to Bud Sasser..who wound up and threw a 40-yard touchdown to L'Damian Washington to put Mizzou up 34-26 (the Tigers missed the PAT that would have made it a two-score game).

Missouri closed out the Bulldogs 41-26 between the hedges to springboard its journey to the SEC Championship Game and signal to the rest of the league (and beat writers who may have publicly given the Tigers a 5% chance to win the game that week) that maybe it wasn’t as overmatched as everyone seemed to think.

2) Missouri 41, Nebraska 24, Oct. 11, 2003

This was the first game that signaled that Gary Pinkel just might have something going in Columbia.

The Tigers had lost 24 consecutive games to the Cornhuskers dating back to a 1978 win in Lincoln. They came into this one 4-1, but limping after a 35-14 loss to Kansas the week before. Through three quarters, Nebraska had bottled up Brad Smith and the Tiger offense and led 24-14.

Smith ran 39 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it 24-21. Missouri would get the ball back a few plays later when James Kinney sacked Jammal Lord and forced a fumble that was scooped up and returned to the Husker nine-yard line by Dedrick Harrington. But three plays lost five yards and left Mizzou in fourth and goal from the 14-yard line with a game-tying field goal as the only option.

Except it wasn't the only option for Pinkel. He called for a fake. Holder and backup quarterback Sonny Riccio took the snap, stood up, rolled right and lofted the biggest pass of his Tiger career into the hands of Victor Sesay for a touchdown that gave Mizzou a 28-24 lead. Missouri would get two stops and two touchdown runs from Smith to close out a 41-24 win and set off the biggest celebration in a generation for Tiger fans.

1) Missouri 36, Kansas 28, Nov. 24, 2007

There was no mystery here. The biggest game in program history (at least for a week) was and remains the biggest win in program history. Missouri entered the week 10-1 and ranked fourth in the country. Kansas was 11-0 and ranked No. 2. The winner would be in line to play Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship two weeks later with a spot in the national title game on the line.

Missouri raced out to a 21-0 lead early in the third quarter behind two Chase Daniel touchdown passes and a scoring run from Jimmy Jackson. The teams then traded touchdowns leaving Mizzou up 28-7 and just 15 minutes away from the first conference championship game appearance in school history.

That's when the Jayhwks finally made things a little bit interesting. KU would score touchdowns on its next three possessions while holding Missouri to field goals to close the gap to 34-28 with 2:03 to go. But Tommy Saunders covered an onside kick attempt and Missouri was able to run all but 17 seconds off the clock. Kansas got it back with one last gasp needing a miracle to win the game. The prayer went unanswered as Lorenzo Williams led a charge of Tigers to sack Todd Reesing for a safety with 12 seconds left that provided the final points in the 36-28 win.

Chase Daniel posted the signature performance of his Heisman finalist season going 40-for-49 for 361 yards and three touchdowns in likely the best big game performance in school history. Danario Alexander had 117 yards receiving and Tony Temple provided balance with 98 on the ground as Missouri laid claim to the division title. The Tigers would enter the Big 12 Championship as the No. 1 team in America, but would fall to Oklahoma and head to the Cotton Bowl to end their season with a 12th win.

Other games of note

I covered the kicked ball game as a student in 1997 (was actually standing right behind the north end zone watching the kick and catch unfold). I also saw Devin West run for a school record 319 yards against Kansas in 1998 and ended that season with the Tigers at the Insight Bowl against West Virginia, the program's first bowl victory since the 1981 Tangerine Bowl. A loss to Michael Bishop and Kansas State in that same season was also one of the better ones I've ever seen in person.

Since returning in 2003, other games I considered but didn't include were a 41-40 overtime win over Middle Tennessee that Pinkel often referenced as a turning point for his program, the Moe Miracle against San Diego State in 2010, the wins over Nebraska and Illinois in 2007 and Maty Mauk's debut as a starter against Florida in 2013. There was also the 2005 Independence Bowl comeback against South Carolina, but I did not cover that game in person. Ultimately I went with the ten listed above.