Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Missouri Misses the Point - Again, and Loses 19-16

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Missouri Misses the Point - Again, and Loses 19-16

Article excerpt

The black cloud that has hovered over University of Missouri football for 12 seasons seems to be settling in for a 13th.

The program that brought you the Fifth-Down defeat (see: Colorado, 1990), the Norman Conquest (see: Oklahoma 77, Missouri 0, 1987) and a ballyhooed player who defected to . . . a religious sect (see: Mark Jackson) added a new quirk to its repertoire Saturday night in front of 41,453 at Faurot Field.

In their home opener under newly installed permanent lights, the Tigers continued their blackout with a 19-16 loss to pedestrian University of Memphis largely because of a missed extra point late in the fourth quarter. "The (extra point) is the most automatic, easiest play in football," said Mizzou coach Larry Smith, adding, "It happened. He just missed it. . . . You can't explain it." To his tortured credit, though, kicker Mark Norris tried. "That's a kick you don't miss. No way possible in the world that it's not going to go through," said Norris, who had made 19 of his previous 20 collegiate extra-point attempts. "I probably could do it in my sleep, leftfooted." Norris, a rightfooted senior, didn't accept reporters' attempts to rationalize that he may have had difficulty seeing in the cloud of smoke engulfing the end-zone area after a howitzer fired to celebrate Devin West's 5-yard touchdown run with 3 minutes 31 seconds left. The touchdown made it 17-16. "No smoke," Norris said, adding, "If the lights go out, I should hit that shot." Although Smith, 6-18-1 in his third season at MU, had called the game "crucial" earlier this week, he said that the loss didn't mean the lights were flickering on MU's season. The Tigers, after losing their home opener for the third time in seven seasons, are 0-2. "I don't think it's, `Hey, your season's over,' " Smith said, and quickly added, "But this one was a bitter loss." Smith is 1-4 against Memphis in his career but, more significantly, MU is 6-31-5 in games decided by eight points or fewer in the last 12-plus seasons. A 21-42-4 home record is another key to the streak of 12 successive losing seasons that seems on its way to unlucky No. 13. In a game reminiscent of ghastly home losses to less-than-marquee opponents Tulsa and Bowling Green the last two seasons, Mizzou earned a few style points: * Safety Terrence Binion (Ladue High) intercepted Quadry Anderson's pass at the Mizzou 2 and ran it back, by way of a dip into the end zone, to the Missouri 30. …

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