STADIUM: Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field (71,004 - FieldTurf surface). Opened in 1926. MU is 264-171-20 there alltime and has won 37 of its last 46 overall and is 47-14 there since 2003 (3-3 in 2012).
RADIO: Tiger Network. Mike Kelly (play-by-play), Howard Richards (color), Chris Gervino (sidelines), Scotty Cox (producer), Matt Winegardner (director). Carried on over 50 stations across the Midwest, and on the Internet at mutigers.tv.
The game will also be carried live on satellite radio (Sirius 123 & XM 194).
TV: ESPNU. Clay Matvick (play-by-play), Matt Stinchcomb (analysis), Allison Williams (reporter), Tom Scofield (producer).
RANKINGS (AP/USA): MU - None. SU - None.
SERIES: Syracuse leads, 2-0, claiming a home-and-home series in 1986 (41-9 in Syracuse) and 1987 (24-13 in Columbia).
COACHES: MU:Gary Pinkel (Kent State, '75), 90-59 at MU (12th year) and 163-96-3 overall (22nd year). Pinkel is 0-0 vs. Syracuse and Doug Marrone. SU: Doug Marrone (Syracuse, '91), 22-25 at SU and overall (4th year). Marrone is 0-0 vs. Mizzou and Gary Pinkel.
TIGERS HOST SYRACUSE WITH BOWL ELIGIBILITY IN GRASP
The Missouri Tigers (5-5 overall), wrap up the 2012 home schedule this Saturday when they step out of conference one last time to play host to the Syracuse Orange (5-5) at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. (central time), with the game being televised live nationally on ESPNU.
The Tigers will pay tribute to 18 seniors who will be suiting up for the last time at The Zou, and a win would not only send them off the right way, but it would also make Mizzou bowl eligible for a school-record 8th straight season.
Mizzou hopes to carry momentum from their thrilling four-overtime 51-48 win at Tennessee last week into Saturday's game. The Tigers were down 21-7 at halftime, and also faced a 28-14 deficit midway through the 3rd quarter before rallying to tie the game with just :47 seconds left in regulation, on a 25-yard TD pass from QB James Franklin to freshman WR Dorial Green-Beckham on a 4th-and-12 play.
The teams traded TDs in each of the first three overtimes, and the Tiger defense got a stop on downs in the fourth, to set up what was a 35-yard game-winning field goal by redshirt freshman PK Andrew Baggett (his first-ever game-winning field goal attempt in his life at any level).
Syracuse is also coming off of a huge win, as the Orange destroyed previously unbeaten and 11th-ranked Louisville, by a 45-26 score in Syracuse, N.Y. The Orange used a 21-point 2nd quarter to break open a tie game, as they took a 31-13 halftime lead and cruised from there. Syracuse had a balanced offensive attack against Louisville, as they totaled 524 yards of offense, including 278 on the ground and 246 in the air. The trio of QB Ryan Nassib, WR Alec Lemon and RB Jerome Smith all had big days, with Nassib throwing for 246 yards and 3 TDs, while Lemon had 9 receptions for 176 yards and 2 TDs, with Smith adding 144 rushing yards and 1 TD to the ledger. A win Saturday would also make Syracuse bowl-eligible.
LOTS OF THINGS GOING ON SATURDAY
In addition to the important football game being played Saturday, there are several other things to make note of taking place when Mizzou and Syracuse match up.
Saturday is the traditional Blackout Game, when fans are asked to wear black.
In addition, Saturday will also represent the annual Senior Day ceremonies, as 18 Tigers will be honored for their contributions to the program (see following note for more details).
Saturday will also represent Salute to Veterans Day, with several elements in the works to pay tribute to the men and women of the services who sacrifice for our country. Weather permitting, the famous U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team is scheduled to parachute into Memorial Stadium at halftime.
MIZZOU HAS WON A RECORD 18 STRAIGHT AT HOME VERSUS NON-CONFERENCE FOES
The Tigers will take to Faurot Field Saturday looking to defend a nice streak of 18 consecutive home wins against non-conference opponents. The streak is a school record in "modern day times" which we consider began in 1936, when the Associated Press poll debuted. The current string began in 2005, with a 52-21 win at Faurot over Troy, and the Tigers haven't lost at home to a non-league foe since, including this season's 62-10 and 24-20 wins over Southeastern Louisiana and Arizona State, respectively.
One other thing to note: Mizzou Head Coach Gary Pinkel is a sterling 25-2 (92.6%) in his MU career at home against non-conference opponents. The only losses have been to Bowling Green in his MU debut in 2001 (L, 20-13) and to New Mexico in 2005 (L, 45-35).
The previous school record home win streak versus non-conference foes was 11, way back from 1937-44.
SENIOR CLASS ROSTER/NOTES
Here's a quick glance at the 18 seniors who have helped Tiger Nation stand proud for the last few years. This class has won 31 games entering Saturday's game against Syracuse, and has been part of three bowl games (2009 Texas, 2010 Insight, 2011 Independence), one bowl game victory (2011 Independence), and the first-ever win in school history over a #1-ranked opponent (vs. BCS #1 Oklahoma in 2010) among many other noteable achievements...
Most importantly, everyone in this group of 18 scholar-athletes is scheduled to graduate by May, 2013...
32 career games, 11 rec., 139 yards, long of 51 yards
TIGERS CLAIM FIRST SEC ROAD WIN IN HEART-STOPPING FASHION AT TENNESSEE
Evidently figuring that if they were going to get their first SEC road win, they were going to make it one to remember, the Missouri Tigers evened their season record to 5-5 (2-5 in SEC play) with a thrilling 51-48 quadruple overtime win at Tennessee that likely induced some quadruple bypasses in the state of Missouri, thanks to its heart-stopping suspense.
Tiger QB James Franklin bounced back from a rough first half (Tennessee led 21-7 at halftime), and threw 4 touchdown passes, including his first with just :47 seconds left in regulation which forced OT, followed by TD passes in each of the first three extra periods. Mizzou's defense forced one last 3-and-out to get Franklin and company the ball back with 4:43 left, trailing 28-21. Taking over on his own 24-yardline, Franklin calmly led a drive that saw him convert improbable 4th-and-9 and 4th-and-12 situations.
The first came on a 17-yard pass to WR Marcus Lucas with about 1:30 left to play that took it down to the Tennessee 23-yardline. After three plays lost three yards total, Mizzou faced do-or-die, 4th-and-12 from the UT 25, with a crowd of nearly 90,000 howling strong. Unfazed, Franklin escaped pocket pressure and found freshman WR Dorial Green-Beckham alone in the left corner of the endzone for a 25-yard TD pass with :47 seconds left to tie the game and force overtime.
Franklin would proceed to throw TD passes of 24 yards to WR Jimmie Hunt, 19 yards to WR Marcus Lucas and 10 yards to Green-Beckham, respectively, in the first three OT periods as the teams traded scores. After the Tiger defense got a 4th-down stop of the Volunteer offense in the 4th OT, Franklin got the ball centered up at the UT 17-yardline, which led to PK Andrew Baggett's game-winning 35-yard field goal.
It was quite a turnaround for the Tigers, as Tennessee dominated the first half, outgaining MU by a 383-to-64 margin in total offense on their way to a 21-7 halftime lead. Mizzou turned the tables in the 2nd half, outgaining Tennessee by a 307-to-125 margin in total offense.
CALL HIM CAPTAIN COMEBACK?
Come-from-behind wins are hard to come by, but in just 20 career starts at Mizzou, junior QB James Franklin has already engineered three fourth-quarter comeback wins. He also directed a 4th-quarter comeback to force overtime at Arizona State a year ago, only to see the Tigers fall in overtime.
This past Saturday at Tennessee, Franklin rallied the Tigers from 14 points down in the 2nd half (twice trailed by 14, at 21-7, and later at 28-14), for the 51-48 4-overtime win in Knoxville. He tied the game at 28-28 with just :47 seconds left on a clutch 25-yard TD pass on a 4th-and-12 play.
In 2011, in his first year as a starter, Franklin led comeback wins late at Texas A&M, when MU trailed 28-17 in the 4th quarter, before the Tigers rallied to post a 38-31 OT win in College Station. That 11-point 4th quarter deficit is the 2nd-largest Mizzou has ever overcome (13 points against Nebraska in 1949). Three weeks later, Franklin was at it again, as he guided MU to a 31-27 home win over Texas Tech, after Mizzou trailed 27-17 heading into the 4th quarter.
In just his 2nd career start, at Arizona State in 2011, Franklin showed he had late-game ice in his veins, as he led a Mizzou rally from a 30-16 4th-quarter deficit, to forge overtime in Tempe, only to see the Tigers fall by a 37-30 score in the end.
Alltime MU TDs in Final Minute of Regulation to Tie or Win Game
Green-Beckham 25 pass from Franklin (0:47) to tie it 28-28 (Won, 51-48 in 4-OT)
vs. San Diego St.
Moe 68 pass from Gabbert (0:51) to win, 27-24
vs. Iowa St.
Coffey 4 pass from Daniel (0:20) to tie it 24-24 (Won, 27-24 in OT)
at Oklahoma St.
Ross 38 pass from Jones (0:18) to tie it 37-37 (Won, 51-50 in 2-OT)
Chamberlain 2 pass from Johnson (0:24) to tie it 27-27 (Tied, 27-27)
at Ohio St.
Lewis 2 pass from Woods (0:12) to win, 22-21
Haas 1 run (0:02) to win, 20-15
Snowden 1 run (0:05) to win, 14-10
MIZZOU LATE SCORE HISTORY
It's hard to imagine a more clutch play than James Franklin's 25-yard TD pass to WR Dorial Green-Beckham with :47 seconds left in regulation (on 4th-and-12) which tied last Saturday's game at Tennessee and sent it into overtime. But there have been plenty of late dramatics in Tiger history, of course, so we thought it would be fun to take a look back at the instances where Mizzou has scored a touchdown in the final minute of play to either tie the game, or take the lead in what ended up being Tiger victories.
By our count, last Saturday marked only the 8th time in MU history that the Tigers scored a TD in the final minute of regulation play to either win a game, or tie it and force overtime. At right is a look at those instances.
BAGGETT NAILS GAME-WINNER, WINS SEC WEEKLY AWARD
Redshirt freshman PK Andrew Baggett had never tried a game-winning field goal in all of his life before Saturday, but he sure didn't appear to be fighting nerves, as he calmly drilled a game-winner from 35 yards out in the fourth overtime to give Mizzou a dramatic 51-48 4-OT win at Tennessee. He was also perfect on all 6 PAT tries on the day, and for his efforts, on Monday was named SEC Special Teams Co-Player of the Week.
Baggett is now 11-of-16 on the year in field goals, and 28-of-30 in PATs. He has made 8 of his last 9 FG tries, with the only miss on a kick that was blocked at Florida due to a missed blocking assignment on the edge. He ranks 6th in the SEC with his 1.10 field goals per game average (54th in NCAA), and he's 16th in the SEC in scoring, at 6.10 points per game.
Let the record reflect that this is only the 9th time in MU history that the Tigers have won on a field goal in the final minute of regulation or overtime.
MIZZOU PLAYERS WITH TIES TO THE ARMED SERVICES
As we pay tribute this weekend to the men and women of our country's armed services, we thought it would be of interest to list those who have family ties to the military. Here's a listing (huge thanks to Kat Lucchesi of the football staff for compiling the information):
TIGER DEFENSE TAKETH AWAY - 28 STRAIGHT GAMES WITH A TAKEAWAY
Defensive coaches preach takeaways at all levels of the game of football. Mizzou's coaches have gotten their message through to the Mizzou defense of late, as the Tigers carry an active streak of 28 games having gained a takeaway into Saturday's game vs. Syracuse. The last time Mizzou's defense didn't come up with a turnover was Oct. 30, 2010 at Nebraska (a 31-17 loss).
Mizzou got a big turnover last week in the 4-OT thriller at Tennessee, as it came on the Volunteer's game-opening drive and thwarted a likely score. The Vols took the opening kick and quickly drove to a 1st-and-goal at the MU 10-yardline. On 2nd-and-goal from the Tiger 7-yardline, a pass in the flat was knocked out of the hands of a Tennessee back by MU's Michael Sam (it was originally credited to Kenronte Walker, but film showed it was Sam who gets credit), with LB Andrew Wilson falling on the ball at the 7. That was the only turnover MU managed to create on the day, but the points it prevented from scoring certainly played a factor in the Tigers' eventual overtime win.
The Tigers forced a pair of fumbles two weeks ago in their tough-luck loss at #8 Florida, with CB E.J. Gaines recovering one of them on the Gator 27-yardline in the 2nd quarter. That set up Mizzou's only score of the day, and it gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead which it held until midway through the 3rd quarter. The other fumble was recovered by Florida.
Prior to that, Mizzou forced five fumbles, and got three more takeaways (all on fumbles) against Kentucky. Mizzou converted those into 20 points (after having just 30 points off turnovers in the seven games prior to that this season), in the 33-10 win. All-star DT Sheldon Richardson made one of the defensive plays of the season to date for the first takeaway, when he tackled and stripped a Kentucky tailback of the ball on the Tiger 11-yardline on the opening drive of the game. Richardson threw the Wildcat aside, picked the ball up at the 15-yardline, and raced 60 yards the other way before the 295-pounder got hauled down at the Kentucky 25-yardline. That set up a TD run by TB Kendial Lawrence for a quick 7-0 lead.
The other takeaways were induced by DE Brad Madison and LB Will Ebner. Madison got a sack/fumble on the Kentucky 12-yardline that was recovered by MU's LB Zaviar Gooden. That set up a Tiger TD on the first play of the 4th quarter. Later in the 4th, Ebner pursued a pass play to the boundary, and popped the ball loose right after a catch. Teammate E.J. Gaines scooped the ball up at the Kentucky 13-yardline and tightroped his way down the sideline for the touchdown which put a cap on MU's 33-10 win.
Prior to that, Mizzou's defense was able to create takeaways in its 42-10 loss to #1 Alabama. The Tiger defense forced a pair of Crimson Tide fumbles, which were both forced by DE Michael Sam, with LB Zaviar Gooden pouncing on one, and DE Shane Ray snagging the other. The first was recovered by Gooden at the Mizzou 12-yardline to thwart a potential Tide score, while the second one came on a hit by Sam of Tide QB A.J. McCarron, with Ray recovering at the Alabama 48-yardline.
Mizzou managed one takeaway against Vanderbilt, courtesy of a Kip Edwards interception in the the 3rd quarter (his team-leading 2nd of the season, 5th career). The turnover streak came oh-so-close to ending the previous Saturday at Central Florida, but just like that, with only 2:29 remaining in the game, junior CB E.J. Gaines popped the ball loose from a UCF receiver after a short catch, and junior DT Sheldon Richardson gladly pounced on the fumble to effectively end the game.
PINKEL HAS THIRD-MOST WINS IN MIZZOU HISTORY
Mizzou Head Coach Gary Pinkel is in his 12th season at MU (22nd overall as a head coach) and touts a career record of 163-96-3 (62.8%).
Pinkel, who has led MU to a combined record of 68-34 (66.7%) over the past 7+ seasons, and to bowl games in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, has a 12-year record in Columbia of 90-59 (60.4%). Dating back to the 2005 Independence Bowl win over Steve Spurrier and South Carolina, Pinkel has gone 62-29 in his last 91 games overall (68.1%). 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 90. The win over Kansas in 2010 was the 150th of his career.
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.
In 2007, Pinkel guided the Tigers from unranked in the pre-season to a team which won a school-record 12 games and a final ranking of #4 in the Associated Press Top-25. Mizzou ascended to #1 in the BCS rankings following the regular season, and stood just one half away from playing in the BCS National Championship Game (before Oklahoma pulled away from a halftime tie to win the Big 12 title game). 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, and his 7 bowl games is an MU record.
Pinkel has directed Mizzou to 8 winning seasons (8-5 in 2003, 7-5 in 2005, 8-5 in 2006, 12-2 in 2007, 10-4 in 2008, 8-5 in 2009, 10-3 in 2010 and 8-5 in 2011), with those representing 8 of MU's 10 winning campaigns dating back to the 1983 season.
The Big 12 North Division titles won by Mizzou in 2007, 2008 and 2010 represent the only football conference titles of any kind Mizzou has won since 1969 - the last time it claimed a share of the old Big Eight Conference crown. In April of 2011, Pinkel agreed to a two-year contract extension, meaning he'll patrol the Tiger sidelines through the 2017 season.