A brief look back: blowouts, heartbreakers and upsets in 500 games at Memorial Stadium

Coach Barry Odom didn’t think the score of Saturday’s blowout win over SEMO was a coincidence.
The Rock M at Memorial Stadium looms over a Missouri practice during fall camp. The feature was dedicated in 1927. Madeline Carter

In its 500th game at Memorial Stadium, Missouri won 50-0.

Coach Barry Odom doesn’t think it was a coincidence.

“Maybe big picture, more take a step back and look on the 500th game at Memorial Stadium to win 50-0, those things don’t just happen and I know,” Odom said.

Construction on the stadium began back in December 1925 when ground was broken in a valley between a pair of bluffs south of campus. Almost a year later, the stadium was dedicated in memoriam to the 112 Missouri graduates and students who lost their lives in World War I. The Tigers played their first game in the stadium against Tulane on Oct. 2, 1926 — it ended scoreless in the midst of a massive rainstorm.

The stadium’s Rock M was dedicated in 1927, when Missouri went a 4-0 at home to help secure a Missouri Valley Conference championship.

While Paint the M may be the most obvious and long-standing Memorial Stadium tradition, since its groundbreaking, the stadium has hosted many exciting games — blowout, heartbreaker or upset.

The first of such games was against Centre College in 1928 when coach Gwinn Henry’s Tigers won 60-0. It was the largest margin of victory for Missouri in Memorial Stadium until it beat Delaware State 79-0 on Sept. 24, 2016. Then-sophomore quarterback Drew Lock threw for 402 yards and five touchdowns, while then-freshman Damarea Crockett and redshirt sophomore Marvin Zanders both had two rushing touchdowns.

As for heartbreakers? There’s been a few to take place at Memorial Stadium.

Most recently was Missouri’s 15-14 loss to Kentucky last season, when the Wildcats scored with zero seconds on the clock following a pass interference call that resulted in a replay of the down.

The heartbreaker that comes to mind for the majority of Tiger fans, though, would be the Fifth Down Game of Oct. 6, 1990 when Missouri lost to Colorado 31-33 on an officiating mistake considered one of the most memorable blunders in college football history.

When Colorado called its final timeout between second and third down, the chain crew forgot to flip the down marker. In turn, the Buffaloes were given an extra down due to the mistake and scored on “fifth down” to win the game.

The Tigers have been in similar scenarios on the opposite side of the ball.

In 1973, a No.12 Missouri team beat No. 2 Nebraska when the Huskers’ final 2-point conversion attempt was intercepted by defensive back Tony Gillick. Almost 30 years later, the Tigers beat their first ever No.1 opponent when they defeated Oklahoma 36-27 during their homecoming game. It was also the first time ESPN College Gameday was held at MU.

Edited by Zoia Morrow | zmorrow@themaneater.com

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