'MizzouRah!' worth the money

Former journalism students pay tribute to MU football.

Gift ideas for Tiger fans this holiday season should include the book called "MizzouRah!: Memorable Moments in Missouri Tiger Football History." Created by 1977 School of Journalism graduates Todd Donoho and Dan O'Brien, the book assembles 30 of the greatest moments in Tiger history into pictures and text.

"The idea came about in February of 2004 when we realized there was no definitive book on Tiger football," O'Brien said. "So, Todd and I came up with a list of moments, and then we went on TigerBoard.com and asked the fans what they thought. Then in April of that year, we presented our idea to the university."

The athletic department approved and gave Donoho and O'Brien complete access to MU's archives. This allowed the authors to view photos and watch game films of players and coaches they previously had only read about. This made it possible for the book to include pictures from some legendary events.

One example is when MU played New York University at Yankee Stadium in 1939. Tiger quarterback Paul Christman told media outlets in New York City that he would: "Blow those New Yorkers off the field." He backed up his words and led MU to a 20-7 win.

Another is Doak Walker's trip to Columbia in 1948. Walker, a Heisman-winning running back for Southern Methodist, now is the namesake to the award for the best running in college football.

"MizzouRah!" also includes a frame-by-frame view of the famous Nebraska "flea-kicker" play during the 1997 game. No. 1-ranked Nebraska forced overtime after a Cornhusker receiver kicked a deflected ball up to a diving teammate in the end zone on third and goal with seven seconds left. Nebraska won the game in overtime.

Donoho said Tiger fans would be pleased with the content of the book.

"Whenever I go through the book with someone, they always ask, 'Is this moment in it? Is that moment in it?' and 99 percent of the time, the moment has been included in the book," Donoho said.

Although the fascinating pictures are great, the book also uses unique writing styles. Donoho and O'Brien adapted and adjusted the writing style depending on the moment.

"For some of the moments, we had to go in-depth and explain the history, but for others, like the Brad Smith (touchdown) catch versus Nebraska (in 2003), we just gave the play-by-play," O'Brien said.

If there is one improvement to be made in the book, it would be to include a complete year-by-year history of Tiger football. Although the 30 moments are interesting to read, a more thorough history could have been included to appeal to the more serious fan that wants to appreciate more than just these special places in history.

The book, which is available at the University Bookstore for $40 and at other Columbia bookstores, has almost sold out of its initial printing.

"I think it's a great book," athletic department spokesman Chad Moller said. "It's been met with great excitement from our fan base, and they did a great job on it."

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