13 October 2011

Homecoming Preview

Two teams seek one conference win
by Mizzou Matt 10/13/11
COLUMBIA, MO- Saturday is the day that the University of Missouri, and the nation, will celebrate 100 years of Homecoming. Last year, the Tigers had the audacity to bring in then BCS no-1 Oklahoma and did something nobody ever thought they would do- won. The nine point thriller in Columbia was just the second win over OU for the program in the past 20 years, dating back to a 1998 Homecoming 20-6 victory. Mizzou finished last year at 9-4, including a 27-24 loss to Iowa in the Insight Bowl. The 1998 season found the Tigers in the Insight Bowl vs West Virginia, which ended in a 34-31 Tiger victory.

The past two years is a tale of two teams. Last year Mizzou had the likes of Blaine Gabbert and Aldon Smith. They had a veteran offensive line led by center Tim Barnes. Lining up at outside linebacker was Andrew Gachkar. They had three outstanding defensive backs in Carl Gettis, Kevin Rutland and Jarrell Harrison. The D was stout, and the offense methodical (minus a few bumps in the road). Gabbert and Smith both went in the top ten of the 2011 NFL draft, Gachkar went in the 7th round. Gettis, Barnes and Rutland all went in the supplemental draft.

This year they're led by a first year starting quarterback in James Franklin. No surprise there as we're now six weeks into the season. It should also come to no surprise that with a first year starter, the team is trying to find its stride. With a season record of 2-3, 0-2, the Tigers are looking for their first conference win of 2012. All three of Mizzou's losses were on the road to ranked opponents (Arizona State, Oklahoma, K-State) for a combined 24 points. They managed to score 14 in the last 6:30 against the Wildcats. They still lost 24-17. They scored 14 in the fourth against OU to make the score 38-28. They came back to tie the Sun Devils and force a 7-point 37-30 overtime loss.

Iowa State, on the other hand, has a winning overall record at 3-2, but like Missouri is still winless in conference play. After a hot start at 3-0 and defeating in-state rival Iowa in triple overtime, the Cyclones are far from impressive. Texas proved that last year's 28-21 ISU win was a fluke. Quarterback Steele Jantz brings with him a lackluster 55% completion percentage, an abominable 6.0 yards per pass, a TD-to-INT ratio of 10-8 and 40 yards rushing...before sacks. Franklin has slightly more respectable numbers- 96/161 (57.9%), 1199 yards, 7 TDs and just two interceptions. The Mizzou offensive line has only allowed nine sacks all season.

This game carries more than just a win in the conference standings. This game also carries historical implications. The first Homecoming game on November 25, 1911, ended in a "sloppy, mudpie tie" when Mizzou battled Kansas in a 3-3 game. The winner of this game will leave an indelible mark on history for winning the 100th Homecoming. The Tigers boast a 57-37-5 Homecoming record (.555 winning percentage), and Iowa State will try and make it loss number 38 as Gary Pinkel searches for his 80th win at Mizzou, 153rd win overall. Pinkel is currently third on the All-Time wins list at Missouri with 79, just 14 behind Dan Devine (93) and 22 behind legend Don Faurot (101).

If you're going to the game, be sure to follow the pride points:
  • Come early 
  • Stay late 
  • Be loud 
  • Be respectful
  • Wear Gold! 
Also be sure to be extra loud to create a great atmosphere because a target recruit of Mizzou, the number one high school receiver in the country, Dorial Green-Beckham will be in attendance. Perhaps a "M-I-Z---D-G-B!!!" cheer is in order?

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