Aug. 30, 2010
Missouri Tigers (0-0) vs. Illinois Fighting Illini (0-0)
Sept. 4, 2010 - Edward Jones Dome - St. Louis, Mo.
2010 STATE FARM ARCH RIVALRY
ARCH RIVALRY TAKES FINAL BOW AS MIZZOU-ILLINOIS HIT ST. LOUIS
If you're ready for some football, then come on over to the Gateway City, as the 2010 season gets underway with the State Farm Arch Rivalry this Saturday in St. Louis' Edward Jones Dome, where the Missouri Tigers (8-5 a year ago) will play host to the Illinois Fighting Illini (3-9 in 2009). Kickoff is set for 11:40 a.m. on FOX Sports Net.
Saturday will mark the sixth and final time that the two border rivals will meet in St. Louis, as the 2010 game is the last year of the agreement. All five previous meetings in the Dome have gone Mizzou's way, as the Tigers claimed a 33-20 win in 2002, followed by a 22-15 win in 2003. After three years off, a four-year series resumed in 2007, with MU claiming a 40-34 win, followed by a 52-42 win in 2008 and a 37-9 win in 2009.
While Tiger fans will undoubtedly miss the Arch Rivalry matchup, Mizzou has scheduled Arizona State (away in 2011, home in 2012) and Indiana (away in 2013, home in 2014) to help fill the openings in its future schedules.
11:40 a.m. CT.
STADIUM: Edward Jones Dome (66,965 - FieldTurf surface). Mizzou is 5-0 there, winning all five against Illinois (2002, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009).
RADIO: Tiger Network. Mike Kelly (play-by-play), John Kadlec (color), Chris Gervino (sidelines), Scotty Cox (producer). Carried on over 50 stations across the Midwest, and on the Internet at mutigers.com.
The MU broadcast will also be on Sirius Satellite Radio (channel 125) and on XM Satellite Radio (channel 104).
TV: FOX Sports Net. Joel Meyers (play-by-play), Dave Lapham (color), Jim Knox (sidelines), Dr. Bob Steinfeld (producer/Jedi Master).
MU - RV [33rd] / RV [37th]
ILL - None.
SERIES: MU leads, 16-7, and has won 5 straight, and 15-of-20 dating back to 1966.
MU: Gary Pinkel (Kent, `75), 67-46 at MU (10th year) and 140-83-3 overall (20th year). Pinkel is 5-0 vs. Illinois and is 3-0 vs. Ron Zook.
ILL: Ron Zook (Miami [Ohio], `76), 21-39 at Illinois (6th year) and 44-53 overall (9th year). Zook is 0-3 vs. Mizzou and Gary Pinkel.
TIGERS HAVE BEEN TOPS IN THE BIG 12 NORTH THE PAST THREE SEASONS
Over the last 3 seasons (2007-09), no team in the Big 12 North Division has been more successful than Mizzou. The Tigers rank 3rd-best in the league in overall wins (30) and Big 12 wins (16) during the period, and that is also tops among North Division schools by a three-game margin. Here's the tables...
|4. Texas Tech
||3. Texas Tech
||5. Oklahoma State
|6. Oklahoma State
|8. Texas A&M
||8. Texas A&M
|9. Kansas State
||8. Kansas State
|11. Iowa State
||11. Iowa State
BREAKING DOWN THE NORTH DIVISION
Digging deeper into the previous topic, a further look into the results of the past three seasons shows that Mizzou has been dominant in its most important games - those against its Big 12 North brethren. From 2007-09, Mizzou has gone 13-2 in North Division games (86.7%). Here's a look at the comparisons...
MIZZOU-ILLINOIS SERIES HISTORY
Missouri and Illinois will meet for the 24th time when they tussle in Saturday's State Farm Arch Rivalry contest in St. Louis. MU holds a 16-7 edge in the series, based largely on the strength of taking 9-of-11 games between the rivals in a stretch spanning 1949 to 1983.
Since resuming the rivalry in 2002, Mizzou has been on the winning side all five times, but all of the games have been close and competitive to the end, prior to last year's 37-9 Tiger victory. The Tigers lead the Fighting Illini 6-1 alltime in games played in St. Louis.
Illinois is the most commonly-played non-conference opponent in MU history., along with SMU. The previous 23 games played vs. Illinois is tied for the most alltime for a non-conference opponent, and Saturday's game will push the Illini all alone into the top spot.
MU IN SEASON OPENERS
In its previous 119 seasons of play, Mizzou stands 75-39-5 alltime (65.1%) in season openers. The Tigers have won 8 straight season openers, and 12-of-13 dating back to 1997. Included in the current 8-game streak were season-opening wins over Illinois in 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Saturday will mark the 11th time that Mizzou has faced Illinois to open a season, and the Tigers have managed a solid 8-2 record against the Illini in the previous 10 such meetings.
LAST YEAR'S RECAP: MIZZOU 37, ILLINOIS 9
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Blaine Gabbert threw for 319 yards and three touchdowns and ran for a fourth in a stellar starting debut to lead rebuilding Missouri to a 37-9 victory over Illinois, its fifth win in a row in the neutral-site series.
Juice Williams was held in check and failed to convert a crucial fourth-down play for Illinois, which just missed cracking the preseason Top 25 but lost despite an offense with eight returning starters. The Fighting Illini were 5-7 in 2008, but were considered a touchdown favorite against a Tiger program replacing 23 seniors, including quarterback Chase Daniel and a Big 12-best six NFL draft picks, including a pair of first-round selections.
Missouri won its eighth straight opener without most of the key skill players from an offense that helped produce 22 victories the past two seasons. Gabbert, a sophomore shining in his hometown after appearing in three games in 2008 as Daniel's understudy, was 24-for-33 and added 39 yards on 10 carries for an offense that had no turnovers. Gabbert had three first-down runs before bulling into the end zone on an 8-yard carry in the fourth quarter.
The Tigers led 16-3 at the half and pulled away with touchdowns on two of their first three possessions after the break. Danario Alexander had a career-high 10 receptions for 132 yards, including two catches for 59 yards, on the opening drive of the third quarter, and Jared Perry caught a 46-yard touchdown pass in the third for a 30-3 lead.
Williams was 18 for 28 for 178 yards with a touchdown and an interception. In 2008, Williams passed for 451 yards and five touchdowns and set an Edward Jones Dome record with 461 yards of total offense.
Illinois wide receiver Arrelious Benn and running back Jason Ford missed the second half with ankle injuries. Daniel Dufrene, the starter at running back, dressed but did not play due to an ankle injury.
Gabbert was 7 for 8 for 106 yards in the first quarter, leading Missouri to a 10-0 lead after two possessions while Illinois opened with two punts. The big play of the half was a 49-yard scoring pass to Wes Kemp, a sophomore St. Louisian also making his first career start, and the Tigers added field goals of 32, 44 and 41 yards from new kicker Grant Ressel.
Trailing 13-3 late in the second quarter, Illinois failed to capitalize on a roughing the punter call when Williams stumbled just after taking the snap on 4th-and-1 at the Missouri 20. Williams appeared to get his legs tangled with guard Randall Hunt and fell backward for a 4-yard loss.
|Tackles For Loss
|Pass Break Ups
TIGERS HAVE A VETERAN FEEL HEADING INTO 2010
It's quite a different feel entering the 2010 season for the Missouri Tiger football program, as compared to 2009, when Gary Pinkel's squad was one of the youngest in the country. A year ago, the Tigers managed eight wins and a fifth-straight bowl game appearance, despite featuring a depth chart that included 34-of-51 players being either freshmen or sophomores to start the year.
In 2010, Mizzou enters the season, well, seasoned. Seventeen starters from 2009 return to the fold, including eight on each side of the ball, plus PK Grant Ressel, who won 1st-Team All-American honors (Sports Illustrated) for his record-setting season.
At right is a breakdown of just what is returning to the fold for Mizzou in 2010...
||# Seasons (Years)
||19 (1935-42, 46-56)
PINKEL STANDS 3RD ON ALLTIME MU COACHING WINS LIST
Mizzou Head Coach Gary Pinkel begins his 10th season at MU (20th overall as a head coach) and touts a career record of 140-83-3 (62.6%). The Illinois game to open the 2008 season was the 200th in Pinkel's head coaching career.
Pinkel, who has led MU to a combined record of 45-21 (68.2%) over the past 5 seasons, and to bowl games in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, has a 9-year record in Columbia of 67-46 (59.3%). Dating back to the 2005 Independence Bowl win over Steve Spurrier and South Carolina, Pinkel has won 39 of his last 55 games overall.
MU's win in the 2008 opener against Illinois gave Pinkel his 50th MU win, and he now ranks 3rd on the coaching wins list at MU, with 67.
Pinkel is in a select group of Mizzou coaches that includes College Football Hall of Famers Don Faurot and Dan Devine, as well as Warren Powers, to be the only coaches to have an MU record of above .500 (with at least one full season coached) dating all the way back to 1935. At right is a quick look at the top winning coaches in MU history.
For his efforts in 2007, Pinkel was a finalist for several national coach of the year awards, including the Robinson, Bryant and Munger awards. He was also named the National Coach of the Year by FieldTurf in 2007.
Mizzou's bowl appearance in 2009 means that Pinkel has led MU to 6 bowl games overall, and he now joins Devine as the only other coach to guide MU to 6 bowl games.
Pinkel has directed Mizzou to 6 winning seasons (8-5 in 2003, 7-5 in 2005, 8-5 in 2006, 12-2 in 2007, 10-4 in 2008 and 8-5 in 2009), with those representing 6 of MU's 8 winning campaigns dating back to the 1983 season.
The Big 12 North Division titles won by Mizzou in 2007 and 2008 represent the first football conference title of any kind Mizzou has won since 1969 - the last time it claimed a share of the old Big Eight Conference crown.
In November of 2008, Pinkel agreed to a new seven-year contract, meaning he'll patrol the Tiger sidelines through the 2015 season.
MIZZOU HAS STRING OF 17-STRAIGHT NON-CONFERENCE REG. SEASON WINS
While conference play is always the most important part of the season, getting to league play in good shape is also a big deal. Gary Pinkel's Tigers have done a masterful job of navigating the non-conference season over the past few years, as they carry a string of 17-consecutive non-conference wins during the regular season. The last time Mizzou dropped a pre-Big 12 game was back in 2005 (New Mexico). Here's a breakdown:
MIZZOU'S NON-CONFERENCE REGULAR SEASON WINS
- 2009 - 4-0 (vs. Illinois, Bowling Green, Furman, at Nevada)
- 2008 - 4-0 (vs. Illinois, SE Missouri State, Nevada, Buffalo)
- 2007 - 4-0 (vs. Illinois, at Mississippi, Western Michigan, Illinois State)
- 2006 - 4-0 (Murray State, Mississippi, at New Mexico, Ohio)
- 2005 - 2-1 (vs. Arkansas State [W], New Mexico [L], Troy [W])
EXTRA-POINT STREAK UP TO 237 FOR TIGERS
What's the most assured way to break up a no-hitter in baseball? Talk about a no-hitter in the middle of it, of course. With that in mind, it's with a healthy respect for sports superstitions that we reluctantly bring up this impressive streak for Missouri - the Tigers have converted on 237 consecutive extra point attempts entering the 2010 season.
The last time Mizzou missed an extra point (not including 2-point attempts), was back in 2005 at Colorado. Mizzou missed a PAT on its only kick attempt in a 41-12 loss that year to Colorado, and hasn't missed since. After that, the streak has included:
Missouri is now within reach of the NCAA record for consecutive PATs made by a school. The record is 262 by Syracuse, achieved from 1978 to 1989 by 7 different kickers.
2010 SENIOR CLASS HAS EYES ON SCHOOL WINS RECORD
Mizzou's senior class isn't very big (just 17 in all) but they've no doubt played a big role in helping the Tigers elevate the overall standing of the program in their time at MU. The 2010 senior class enters the season having collected 30 wins over the previous three years, and that puts them within reach of the school record of 38 wins over a four-year period, which was established by the 2009 class.
The 2009 class one-upped the record of 37, which had been established just the previous year by the 2008 class. This class has been a very key group of players and leaders who have helped push Mizzou to new heights. They have been part of two Big 12 North Division championship teams (2007, 2008), they've helped lead Mizzou to bowl games in each of the past four seasons overall (2006 Sun, 2008 Cotton, 2008 Alamo, 2009 Texas), and they were also part of the 2007 team which ascended to #1 in the BCS polls on Nov. 25th, 2007.
If the 2010 team can reach a bowl game, this senior class will become only the fourth in MU history to play in four bowl games in a four-year span. The only previous classes to achieve that feat were the 1981 senior class, followed by the last two classes to come through (2008 & 2009).
At right is a look at the most prolific senior classes at Mizzou, in terms of wins...
GABBERT BACK FOR A SECOND GO AROUND AS STARTER
There's an old school of thought which says that the second time around is much easier than the first. If that's the case for Mizzou 2nd-year starting junior QB Blaine Gabbert, then Tiger fans should have plenty to cheer about in 2010, because his first go around as a starter was pretty stellar.
In 2009, Gabbert lived up to advance billing as the highly-recruited signal caller threw for 3,593 yards and 24 TDs with only 9 INTs, as he helped guide the Tigers to 8 wins in his first year as a starter. Throw in the fact that he played 2/3rds of the season on a gimpy ankle which he severely injured in game #5 against Nebraska, and his achievements were outstanding.
Gabbert ended 2009 ranked 2nd in the Big 12 Conference (29th nationally) in passing efficiency, with a rating of 140.45. He was also 4th in the Big 12 and 11th in the NCAA in total offense, averaging 292.08 yards per game. He got his career as a starter off to a rousing start in the Edward Jones Dome against Illinois, when he led the Tigers to a 37-9 win, thanks to a 25-of-33 passing day which included 319 yards and 3 TDs, plus he added a 4th TD late in the game on a short run.
The fourth QB to start for 10th-year Head Coach Gary Pinkel in his Mizzou tenure, Gabbert hopes he can continue a trend his predecessors Brad Smith and Chase Daniel achieved - increasing the win totals dramatically from the first year to the second year as a starter.
Smith started as a redshirt freshman in 2002 and helped the Tigers to a 5-7 record. In his second year as a starter, the Tigers went 8-5 in 2003 - an improvement of 3 wins. Daniel started for the first time in 2006 as a true sophomore, and he helped take the Tigers to an 8-5 record. In his 2nd year running the show, the Tigers exploded for a school-record 12-2 record - an improvement of 4 wins.
Aldon Smith SACK ATTACK IS BACK
The nation's top freshman sack-master from a year ago, Mizzou's DE Aldon Smith, is back for his second time around in a Tiger uniform, and he's looking to build on his redshirt freshman season from a year ago that saw him earn Big 12 Defensive Freshman & Newcomer of the Year, as well as 1st-Team Freshman All-American honors.
Smith ended his freshman season with 64 tackles in all, including team-high totals in tackles for loss (19.0 for 126 yards) and QB sacks (11.5 for 99 yards). The sack total broke the MU single-season sacks record of 11.0 set in 2000 by All-American DE Justin Smith (no relation), who is now in his 10th year in the NFL.
Smith's sack total led all of the NCAA's freshmen in 2010, and ranked 9th among all players (3rd in the Big 12 overall). He begins 2010 on the watch lists for the Nagurski Trophy, the Hendricks Award and the Bednarik Award, and is a consensus pre-season 1st-Team All-Big 12 pick.
RESSEL RETURNS AFTER ALL-AMERICAN & RECORD-SETTING 2009 SEASON
In 2009, Mizzou took to the field with the daunting task of having to replace departed PK Jeff Wolfert, who, in his three seasons (2006-08), set the NCAA combined kicking accuracy record, as he made a combined 244-of-257 kicks (59-of-72 FGs, plus 185-of-185 PATs), for a career percentage of 94.9%.
In stepped sophomore Grant Ressel, who won the kicking job in the final week of training camp, and who took the field in the 2009 season opener with exactly zero career kicks under his belt. All Ressel did during his sophomore season was establish himself as the most accurate kicker in the nation, as he made a combined 65-of-66 total kicks (98.5%) - a mark which broke the NCAA single-season record for best combined kick accuracy.
Ressel also led the NCAA in FG percentage among those with 13 or more attempts (96.3%). For the season, Ressel, who joined Mizzou in 2007 as a walk-on (he's now on scholarship), made 26-of-27 FGs, and was perfect on 39-of-39 PATs.
He forever etched his name fondly into the hearts of Tiger fans in the 2009 regular-season finale against arch-rival Kansas, when he made four FGs (43, 28, 37, 27 yards), including the game-winning 27-yarder as time expired to give Mizzou a comeback 41-39 win. Ressel's only miss on the year was a 43-yard attempt against Nebraska in terrible downpour conditions, on a play where the snap that was off a bit, which threw off the timing of the kick.
For his efforts, Ressel was named a 1st-Team All-American by Sports Illustrated, becoming MU's first-ever kicker to achieve 1st-Team All-American status.
OFFENSIVE LINE RETURNS FOUR STARTERS
Those who consider themselves football purists will tell you that it all starts up front on offense. If that's the case then the Mizzou offense looks to be in pretty solid hands heading into 2010, as the Tigers return 4-of-5 starters from the line a year ago.
Headlining the group is third-year starting C Tim Barnes, who begins the year on the pre-season watch lists for the Rimington and Outland trophies. Barnes has started 27 consecutive games at center, and he's only the third starter at center in Pinkel's tenure at Mizzou - A.J. Ricker started for Pinkel for 3 seasons (2001-03), followed by Adam Spieker for 4 seasons (2004-07), followed by Barnes for three (2008-10).
Also returning to the fold are bookend tackles Elvis Fisher (LT) and Dan Hoch (RT). Fisher will be in his third year as a starter in 2010, as he's started every one of the last 27 games guarding the blind side of Tiger quarterbacks. Hoch became the first-ever true freshman offensive lineman to play for Gary Pinkel when he saw the field in reserve duty in 2008, and then he took over starting duties for the first time in 2009, when he made all 13 starts at the spot.
The guards feature RG Austin Wuebbels, who started 13 games at left guard a year ago, and he now slides over to the right side to replace departed star Kurtis Gregory. Junior LG Jayson Palmgren is set to make his first career start on Saturday, but he's got plenty of game experience, as he split snaps last year frequently with Wuebbels in all 13 games.
DEFENSE BRINGS A VETERAN FEEL TO THE TABLE IN 2010
In 2009, Mizzou featured a very young and overall inexperienced defensive unit, as only four starters - LB Sean Weatherspoon, LB Luke Lambert, DT Jaron Baston and CB Carl Gettis - were considered returning starters coming back from 2008. The young group had its share of ups and downs that often times accompanies a youthful countenance, but those young faces are now more veteran-like.
Heading into the 2010 season, of its 11 projected starters for Saturday's opener against Illinois, the Tiger defense boasts 8 returning starters - DE Aldon Smith, DE Jacquies Smith, NOSE Dominique Hamilton, MLB Luke Lambert, SLB Andrew Gachkar, CB Carl Gettis, CB Kevin Rutland and FS Jasper Simmons. Of the other three, SS Kenji Jackson (9 career starts from 2008-09), and DT Terrell Resonno (1 start in 2009) have starting experience under their belts, while WLB Zaviar Gooden played significant reps as a redshirt freshman in 2009, as his role increased more throughout the season. Additionally, senior SS Jarrell Harrison, who made 8 starts in 2009, isn't listed as starting currently, due to the fact that his availability for Saturday isn't currently known - he injured a knee during fall camp, but hopes to be ready to suit up against Illinois.
- Mizzou will honor a fallen former teammate on Saturday against Illinois, as the Tigers will wear a "DS" sticker on their helmets to pay tribute to Daniel Schatz, a Sullivan, Mo. native who was killed in an automobile accident on Aug. 5th in the St. Louis area. Schatz was a walk-on student-athlete who played quarterback on the offensive scout team in 2009, and then moved to the secondary in the spring of 2010. Schatz decided after spring ball that he wanted to transfer to Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., where he planned to play alongside his brother...
- Junior WR Jerrell Jackson is listed as a potential starter for Saturday's game against Illinois. If he is able to play, it will cap a remarkable recovery for the speedster who is Mizzou's leading returning receiver from a year ago (37 receptions, 458 yards, 2 TDs). On Aug. 11th, Jackson landed hard after a play in practice, and ended up breaking the scaphoid bone in his left wrist. Jackson had surgery on Aug. 16th to insert a pin into his wrist, and original esitmates said that he might miss as many as 2-3 games. But just 8 days after the surgery, Jackson started catching passes on the side of practice and he's progressed far enough along that there's a good possibility that he can see the field against the Illini...
- Coach Gary Pinkel and his staff always pride themselves on locking down the borders of the state of Missouri when it comes to attracting the top high school talent in the state. On Saturday, their recruiting success in the area of St. Louis will be on full display in the Edward Jones Dome. Expected to start for the Tigers against Illinois are QB Blaine Gabbert, WR Wes Kemp and WR T.J. Moe on offense, and CB Carl Gettis on defense - all are St. Louis-area kids. Additionally, TB De'Vion Moore, WR Rolandis Woodland and CB Robert Steeples are three more St. Louis prep stars who will likely see significant action on Saturday...
- Tigers expected to make their first career starts on Saturday include: LG Jayson Palmgren, TE Michael Egnew, TB Kendial Lawrence (if he starts over TB De'Vion Moore, who has 1 career start), WR T.J. Moe on offense, and WLB Zaviar Gooden on defense...
After the 2008 & 2009 senior classes had 100% graduation rate (all 40 Tigers combined earned their degrees), the current Mizzou senior class is doing outstandingly well in regards to its graduation timetable, as well. Consider the following facts:
Four current Tigers have already earned their degrees:
Seven Tigers are scheduled to graduate in December:
The final six seniors will graduate in May: