There is no doubt that Missouri football has been a program on the rise under head coach Gary Pinkel. After an exciting Cotton Bowl victory in 2014, Pinkel became the winningest coach in Mizzou history and currently boasts a 102-63 record as head coach of the Tigers. Since taking the job in late 2000, his teams have produced some of the most exciting moments in this history of the program, producing four 10-win seasons, nine bowl game appearances and three division titles.
5. The Moe Miracle (Missouri vs. San Diego State, 2010). Missouri was down 24-20 to the upset-minded San Diego State Aztecs with under a minute to play. Tiger quarterback Blaine Gabbert fired a quick out to receiver T.J. Moe who turned the ball up field and scampered 68 yards for the winning touchdown while many fans were pouring out of the exits at Faurot Field. The play and win likely saved Missouri’s season as the Tigers vaulted into the top 5 with a home victory over the Oklahoma Sooners week s later. The 2010 team finished with 10 wins for the third time under head coach Gary Pinkel.
4. 41-24! (Missouri vs. Nebraska 2003). Mizzou had not beaten Nebraska in 24 years, but on a beautiful October night in Columbia, Missouri, those fortunes would be reversed. Sensational sophomore quarterback Brad Smith would score four touchdowns as the Tigers capitalized off of a couple Nebraska turnovers on a rain-soaked field. The Nebraska defense, which had given up an average of 219 yards a game before this night, would surrender 452 to the amped-up Tigers. On a night where highlight plays came in droves, quarterback Brad Smith would catch a touchdown pass on a pass-back from receiver Dairus Outlaw and backup quarterback Sonny Riccio’s fake-field goal touchdown to tight end Victor Sesay will never be forgotten by Mizzou faithful. 68,000 plus cheered the Tigers on to a 41-24 victory and many of them stormed the field as the final gun sounded.
3. Josey to the House (Missouri vs. Texas A&M 2013). Mizzou shocked the college football universe as they rose to national prominence during the 2013 season. They went in to the final regular season game against Johnny Football and the 21st ranked Texas A&M Aggies needing a victory to clinch the SEC East in just their second season in the SEC. The Tigers would get that win, thanks in large part to Henry Josey’s historic jaunt up the middle in the fourth quarter of a tie game. 57 yards later, Josey was in the end zone and Mizzou were on their way to the SEC Championship game. Fans poured onto the field in celebration at the games’ conclusion while Queen’s “We are the Champions” blared over the loud speaker.
2. Mcgaffie is Gahn (Missouri vs. Oklahoma, 2010). All the stars seemed to line up for Mizzou during its homecoming weekend of 2010. ESPN’s “College Gameday” was in town, which drew a record crowd of over 15,000 to the famous columns on Francis Quad. And to add fuel to the fire, number one team had lost two weeks straight on ESPN’s prime-time telecast. The Oklahoma Sooners waltzed into town unbeaten and with that dubious number one ranking in toe; however, they would certainly not be leaving that way. As kickoff approached, a sold-out crowd at Memorial Stadium stood to its collective feet to witness the kickoff. The squib kick was taken by Gahn Mcgaffie, a seldom-used receiver who zigged right, then left, then proceeded to rev the crowd into a frenzy as he waltzed 86 yards for a touchdown. Missouri would go on to win the game 36-27 and would vault into the top-10 after beating the Sooners for the first time since 1998.
1. Mizzou, That’s Who! (Missouri vs. Kansas 2007). For the first time during the storied Missouri/Kansas “Border War,” the football game was at the center stage of the college football world. On the seasons’ final week, the Kansas Jayhawks (ranked #2 in the nation) and Missouri Tigers (ranked #4 in the nation) would meet at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO, with the winner taking home the Big XII North Division crown (and the nation’s number one ranking). The Tigers proved to be a the better team throughout the course of the game, and the defense landed the ultimate exclamation point as Stryker Sulak and Lorenzo Williams buried KU quarterback Todd Reesing in the end zone for a game-ending safety. It was the biggest in in the history of the rivalry (in any sport) and Mizzou became the number one team in the nation the following day.
Sack/Strip/TD (Mizzou vs. Oklahoma State in the 2014 Cotton Bowl). Michael Sam sacks OSU quaterback Clint Shelf, causing a fumble as the Cowboys were driving into Mizzou territory late in the Cotton Bowl. Shane Ray picked up the loose ball and lumbered 73 yards for the touchdown which sealed the victory for the Tigers.
We’ve Got Ourselves a Quarterback! (Missouri vs. Illinois, 2002). No one around the Mizzou program knew much about red-shirt freshman quarterback Brad Smith heading into the 2002 season. In the first game of the 2002 season, the nation would become well aware as Smith led the Tigers to a 33-20 upset win over the Fighting Illini. He would finish the day with 138 yards rushing on top of 152 through the air.
41-6 (Missouri vs. Nebraska 2007). Missouri’s improbable run to a Big XII North tile started on a perfect October night in Columbia Missouri. The Tigers overwhelmed the Huskers from the get-go in route to a 41-6 victory that took the form of a 3 and 1/2 hour celebration at Faurot Field. It was clear this Mizzou team was on a collision course.