Saturday, August 3, 2019

Mizzou 50: 1991 Tigers lost in a sea of losing seasons, lost 100th Border War game

The 1991 Missouri football season was a fairly anonymous autumn, another losing season in a sea of losing seasons in the 80s and 90s in Columbia. It was Bob Stull’s third season as head coach, and he had already had two losing seasons before 1991 and he would have two losing seasons after it.

Unless “Missouri tied Indiana for the second time in four years” is interesting to you, the only noteworthy thing about the 1991 season was the 100th meeting of Missouri and Kansas in the Border War that fall. However, Missouri lost that matchup 53-29 before a sparse crowd in Lawrence.

The Tigers did start the season with a win, 23-19 over Illinois in Columbia. But then came a 47-21 loss at No. 14 Baylor down in Waco, and that aforementioned 27-27 tie with Indiana in Columbia.
Sporting a 1-1-1 record, Missouri beat Memphis State 31-21 in Columbia to head into conference play.

In their first chance for Fifth Down Game revenge, Missouri went to Colorado on Oct. 12… and lost 55-7. But at least they got to experience autumn in the Rockies for a little bit. Then came a dominating 41-7 home win over a truly dreadful Oklahoma State team on Homecoming at Faurot Field. OSU finished 0-10-1 that year.

After that win, the Tigers were 3-2-1. But that was the last win of the season, however, as Missouri lost five straight to finish the season, starting with a brutal 63-6 loss at No. 9 Nebraska. The Huskers would tie Colorado in their game and atop the Big Eight standings, with Nebraska gearing up for its incredible run during the 1990s.

In November, Missouri lost a close one to Iowa State and then lost 56-16 at home to No. 20 Oklahoma. In a sad commentary on the deteriorated state of the Mizzou program, the announced attendance was barely 30,000 for a home game against a ranked Oklahoma team.

Then came a 32-0 loss to Kansas State, Bill Snyder’s first win against Missouri. The Wildcats were surging to their first winning season in years, and Snyder was really starting to get some traction.
The season ended with that Border War beatdown at the hands of Kansas. Fans of both teams probably assumed they’d play 100 more times and then some. But the ancient rivalry had only 20 more games ahead before the current hiatus began.

Missouri finished this dreary season 3-7-1, and next-to-last in the Big Eight. Perhaps the only hint of sunshine was the arrival of Jeff Handy, a freshman in 1991 who saw some playing time. He would at least give Tiger fans some entertainment over the coming years, racking up some impressive passing numbers.

1991: 28 years ago, 7th in the Big Eight

Record: 3-7-1, 1-6 in Big Eight

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