Missouri football has been on the cusp of many breakthrough moments and when placed in the national spotlight, their program crumbles. Carrying one of their best records in years, the Tigers welcomed traditional power, Oklahoma, to Memorial Stadium in Columbia. Again, opportunity knocked and Missouri had a good enough team that could answer the door and storm through. However, the Sooners’ agenda failed to coincide with Missouri’s plan and Oklahoma kept all hopes of a Missouri resurgence bolt-locked.
The Friday night before this contest, the St. Louis Cardinals defeated Detroit for the World Series Championship. The buzz from the victory spilled over into Memorial Stadium on Saturday and many hoped that the good karma would carry through for their Tigers. Acknowledgment of the Cardinal championship was announced before Missouri took the field giving a spark to the crowd. The anticipation for the game against the Sooners certainly exceeded uncharted limits, but the confidence levels remained minimal.
The game started with hope as QB Casey Daniel converted a long third and thirteen by foot energizing the early morning crowd. The drive culminated in a field goal giving Missouri a quick advantage. Instead of seizing this momentum and grabbing opportunities, the Tigers handed opportunities to Oklahoma. On Missouri’s next drive, Daniel lofted a certain touchdown pass that slipped off the fingertips of Chase Coffman. On the next play, Daniel threw an interception leading to OU’s first score. The Oklahoma band charged up “Boomer Sooner” and Tiger fans began to shift in their seats. More turnovers led to more stifled Tiger drives and more points for Oklahoma. The frustration continued when the Sooners blocked a punt resulting in a safety. Tiger fans were feeling fortunate to be down only 16-3 at the half.
The second half began with an Oklahoma turnover that led to a much-needed Missouri touchdown run by Daniel. The mood began to swing toward the black and gold and Missouri’s next drive brought them down to the one-yard line. However, four attempts led to four unsuccessful plays and Oklahoma took over on the one. The Tiger defense held forcing a Sooner punt, but a penalty gave Oklahoma a first down. The Sooners cashed in Missouri’s mistake and drove the rest of the field for the put away touchdown. The grunts and grumbles could be heard clear to Kansas City. Seething frustration enveloped the stands as the Tigers continued to give the game away. Oklahoma worried that the loss of their star tailback, Adrian Peterson, would harm their chances in this game. But, Missouri was gracious enough to give them the ball whenever their worries increased.
When will Tiger football turn the corner? They have one more opportunity this upcoming weekend at Nebraska. A victory in Lincoln would almost surely secure a spot in the Big 12 Championship game for the Tigers. However, the dour faces exiting Memorial Stadium may be apprehensive to lay their hearts out on the line again. The Missouri football team can’t afford to be that cautious.