Saturday, December 7th…..A day that started out with great expectation for for me, a St. Louis sports fan. I was set up to watch eight hours of non-stop Mizzou athletics and then had seventh row seats to the Blues game that night (which the Blues would fall 4-2) The day started out perfectly enough with the Mizzou basketball team coming from behind to pick up a win over ranked UCLA and remain undefeated. I then had a break until three when the real highlight and anticipation of the day was geared for; the Mizzou football game against Auburn in the SEC Title game.
Where to begin? A breakdown of the the game and how Auburn ran freely over the Mizzou defense, a guess as to where the Mizzou team will be headed for a bowl game or maybe looking at the future of the Tigers? I think I am just going to look back on the game through my eyes; the eyes of a fan.
First of all what a game! I mean I love defense and sure it is frustrating to see a team roll up 500 yards of rushing against your team. But I am confident in saying that Mizzou was not outplayed or outclassed by Auburn. Auburn’s success comes from their schemes. It is a modern triple option attack that is done with misdirection and disguise. Look at the game again with open eyes. Mizzou wasn’t being pushed around or outran on the field. They were simply a step out of place on their tackles. Numerous times the attacking Mizzou defense was a half-step away from stopping the play in the backfield or near the line of scrimmage. But that half-step late or out of place was enough for Auburn to take advantage of.
How thrilling was it to see Mizzou slug it out with Auburn for the first three quarters. I was on the edge of my seat from the opening kick, or rather I should stay on my toes because I don’t recall if I sat down at all during the game. This is the same Mizzou that “experts” predicted were never going to compete for an SEC title. Well here they were one quarter from the improbable. At the start of the year I was one of the few that predicted a 9 or 10 win season for Mizzou (proof is in a previous blog of mine). And that is all I could think about during the game. The faith I had in the Tigers was correct and it was amazing to see. It is always great when a team comes from “nowhere”. But that is the thing. I don’t think Mizzou came from nowhere. They were hurt last year. This was essentially the same team, just healthy.
Watching the game last night was a thrilling moment despite the loss. How many times did you scream in excitement when Mizzou responded to the mighty Auburn Tigers. When Franklin found DGB in the endzone, when Josey broke loose or when the Mizzou defense forces a turnover and picks the ball up for a scoop and score. Mizzou fans should be proud. Auburn did the same thing to Mizzou that they have been doing, even to the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide. They ran the ball, and ran the ball and ran the ball.
There is no shame for the Mizzou Tigers today. I hope the campus, the fans and the state will now bind together and use this night; the night when the Missouri Tigers put a scare into the old SEC guard. Use this moment to come together and build something truly special. A fan base that truly supports their team. A team that is not a flash in the pan but rather a program that can rise up and compete in the powerful SEC. Don’t hang your heads Mizzou fans and let last night’s outcome subdue your enthusiasm. Be proud and let the nation hear that Mizzou Tiger roar. M…I…Z…Z…O…U!!!!