I was a freshman when No. 11 Mizzou hosted College GameDay against No. 1 Oklahoma for Homecoming. This was a huge game, mainly because Oklahoma was ranked No. 1 in the BCS. Not only that, Mizzou was undefeated at this time, and Pinkel had never beaten Oklahoma since becoming head coach. The stage was set -- 7:00 p.m. Faurot Field, ABC-- the whole college football nation would be watching this game.
The day before, my roommates and I decided that attending College GameDay was a once in a lifetime opportunity and just something we couldn't pass up, no matter what. We arrived behind Jesse Hall relatively early, around 10 p.m. - it would be another six hours or so before we were granted access to the Quad to reserve our spots. It was brutal, cold, and rainy all night, but we stuck with hundreds of others in the hope of obtaining access to the pit right behind the stage. Luckily our dedication paid off, and we made the cut. As we got on the quad, there were several booths set up with fan gear, drinks, and other freebies, which made everyone pretty happy.
After we registered, we got wristbands that would grant us access around 10:00 a.m. to the famed pit. On a side note, I can't describe how excited this campus was. Being a freshmen from Chicago, I had no idea what Mizzou football meant to the students and the fans - this was going to be a special day. After re-fueling at the Waffle House and attempting to grab a few hours of sleep on campus, it was finally time for GameDay to begin. As we walked back to the pit, we were stopped by several fans offering up to $30 dollars for our wristbands. I don't think there was any amount of money we were going to accept for what we had endured for the last 12 hours. The place was unbelievably packed, and, as we would later find out, Mizzou fans set the GameDay record for attendance with approximately 18,000 fans. We were in the best spot and could be seen on TV almost every time the cameras showed the crazy crowd.
The show, the fans, and everything about that Saturday morning was great. It didn't matter that Lee Corso held up the Tiger helmet for a moment before putting on the Boomer head; Tiger fans had already bought into the upset hype.It was finally game time. I've now been to 14 Mizzou home games, and no other game comes close to the atmosphere of that Saturday night. The place was rocking from start to finish, especially when Jahn McGaffie took the opening kickoff 86 yards to the house for the best start Mizzou could have asked for.
The rest of the game was just as exciting. Blaine Gabbert and Landry Jones would go back and forth all night, both throwing over 300 yards a piece. The real difference in the game was Mizzou's ability to pound the ball against a tough Oklahoma front seven. The Tigers out-rushed star RB DeMarco Murray and the Sooners 178 to 99; Murray was held to a new season low 49 yards.
With the Tigers trailing 21-20 heading into the 4th quarter, that same special feeling was heavier than ever. I remember telling my roommate before the quarter began that one big play would decide this game. I admittedly said Murray was going to break a huge run, and the Sooners wouldn't look back. I've never been more happy to be wrong. It was WR JerrellJackson for Mizzou who would prove me wrong and put the Tigers ahead for good.
Mizzou's defense, led by Aldon Smith, would completely shut down that potent Sooner offense for the remainder of the game. With the win locked up and the time just expired, thousands of Mizzou students rushed the field to congratulate the players on one of Mizzou's biggest wins in its program's history.
The celebration would continue throughout the night as fans dragged the north goal post downtown to Harpo's, where it was cut into pieces and given to Tigers fans as a piece of college football history. This was truly one of the greatest days a college football fan could ask for.