Missouri football’s top 10 moments of the decade
The Missouri Tigers have had some mixed results over the course of the 2010s. There have been a couple of division titles, a couple of 10-win seasons and a few disappointing campaigns.
However, there were plenty of huge moments, and that’s what we want to talk about here as the calendar flips to 2020 and a new decade begins.
So, what were the Tigers’ 10 best moments of the 2010s? Here’s how I’d rank them:
10. Final win over Kansas — Nov. 26, 2011
The Tigers finished off their time in the Big 12 with a win. The fact that it came over rival Kansas made it even better. The Jayhawks entered the game 2-9 overall, while the Tigers were 6-5, but Kansas held a 10-3 halftime lead.
In the second half, though, the Tigers came alive, scoring 21 unanswered points in the 24-10 victory. That was the last time the bitter rivals played on the gridiron, and the Mizzou defense held Kansas to only 137 total yards.
Will we ever see these squads share the field again?
9. Drew Lock’s 7-touchdown day — Sept. 2, 2017
The Tigers’ 72-43 season-opening win over Missouri State wasn’t exactly a great day by the defense, but Drew Lock and the offense had a record-setting performance. Lock broke Mizzou single-game records for passing yards (521) and touchdowns (7).
People sometimes forget that Damarea Crockett also had a huge game, running for 202 yards and 2 scores. J’Mon Moore and Johnathon Johnson each caught 2 of Lock’s touchdown tosses, and both went over the 100-yard receiving mark.
8. Cotton Bowl win vs. Oklahoma State — Jan. 3, 2014
After losing the SEC Championship Game to Auburn in 2013, the Tigers were sent to the Cotton Bowl to face off against a familiar former Big 12 foe. RB Henry Josey ran for 3 touchdowns to lead the Tigers to a 41-31 victory.
It was the highest-profile bowl game the Tigers have been to since joining the SEC, and it was an impressive win for Gary Pinkel’s squad. They finished the year 12-2 and No. 5 in the AP poll.
7. Win in 4OT at Tennessee — Nov. 10, 2012
The Tigers’ first conference win as a member of the SEC came 2 weeks earlier against Kentucky, but this was one of the most exciting games of the season. At the end of regulation in Knoxville, the score was tied at 28, but the action was just getting started.
The Tigers scored 23 points in 4 overtime periods, while the Vols managed 20. Mizzou clinched the 51-48 win with a 35-yard field goal from Andrew Baggett. That win proved the Tigers belonged, and it really helped set the stage for Mizzou’s SEC East dominance in 2013 and 2014.
6. Lock’s final home win — Nov. 23, 2018
In the pouring rain on Black Friday last season, the Missouri Tigers hosted rival Arkansas and absolutely demolished the Razorbacks. The final score was 38-0, and the Tigers led 28-0 at halftime against the overmatched Hogs.
This was also Lock’s final home game, and he didn’t disappoint. He finished with 221 passing yards and 2 scores, adding 2 more touchdowns as a rusher. It was a great finish to a great career for Lock at Faurot Field.
5. Pinkel’s final victory — Nov. 14, 2015
It was unclear if this game would even be played due to racial protests on the Missouri campus. Then, to make things even worse, it was revealed before the game that Pinkel would resign after the season after learning that he had cancer.
The Tigers weren’t having a great season by any means, but they went out and beat BYU 20-16 in Kansas City, picking up one last victory for Pinkel, who did so many great things for the program. The emotional celebration on the field after the win is something fans won’t soon forget.
4. 4-0 against Tennessee and Florida — 2017, 2018
For No. 4, how about we discuss the Tigers’ success against Tennessee and Florida in 2017 and 2018 behind Lock? Lock and the Tigers went 4-0 against those SEC East rivals, winning the games by a combined score of 183-67.
Those fan bases love to talk trash about how Mizzou doesn’t belong in the SEC, but the Tigers have had a lot of success against both the Vols and Gators this decade. Fun fact: Mizzou has 2 SEC title game appearances this decade, which ties the Gators and is 2 more than the Vols. People forget that.
3. Win at No. 7 Georgia — Oct. 12, 2013
The Tigers haven’t had a ton of success against the Bulldogs since joining the SEC, but this was one instance when they dominated Georgia. The Tigers were ranked No. 25 and went into No. 7 Georgia, completely owning Mark Richt’s squad in a 41-26 victory.
WR L’Damian Washington was a beast in this game, recording 7 catches for 115 yards and 2 touchdowns. One of those touchdown passes even came from fellow WR Bud Sasser.
That win really set the tone for good things to come in 2013. Speaking of which …
2. Beating Johnny Manziel to clinch SEC East title — Nov. 30, 2013
Manziel won the Heisman in 2012, but in the final week of the 2013 season, the Texas A&M Aggies came to Columbia to take on a 10-1 Mizzou team and Manziel was simply outplayed. The Tigers held him to 195 passing yards and 1 touchdown and allowed him to run for only 21 yards on 11 carries.
Meanwhile, Mizzou QB James Franklin threw for 233 yards and 2 scores and added 80 rushing yards in the Tigers’ 28-21 victory. That gave Mizzou the SEC East title over South Carolina — the Tigers’ first of 2 SEC East championships this decade.
1. Upset of No. 1 Oklahoma — Oct. 23, 2010
This was, undoubtedly, the best Mizzou moment of the decade. The undefeated Oklahoma Sooners (ranked No. 1 in the country) came to Faurot Field and fell 36-27 to the No. 11 Tigers.
I was at that game, and when Gahn McGaffie returned the opening kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown, Mizzou fans went wild. The game was back and forth for the first half before the Tigers pulled away in the fourth quarter, but that kickoff return set the tone for an unforgettable night.
College GameDay was in town for that game, too, and at the time, it was a record crowd for the popular ESPN show. I’ll never forget storming the field after that win. So, yes, I may be a bit biased, but that game was a huge highlight for Mizzou in the 2010s.