Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tigers Set for Deluge; Rain, Overmatched SE Louisiana Hit Faurot Field; MIZZOU

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tigers Set for Deluge; Rain, Overmatched SE Louisiana Hit Faurot Field; MIZZOU

Article excerpt

COLUMBIA, MO. - By any measure of their recent pasts, Mizzou and Southeastern Louisiana make for an utter mismatch entering today's 6 p.m. season opener at Faurot Field.

With a herd of key returnees, the Tigers are tied for the ninth- most wins, 48, in the nation over the past five seasons. They come into the game tied for the nation's fourth-longest winning streak after finishing 2011 with four straight wins to end a season for the first time since 1965.

Meanwhile, Southeastern Louisiana is in just its 10th season since resuming football in 2003 after an 18-year hiatus and is just 37-63 since its revival. The Lions, who play at the Football Championshihp Subdivision level, formerly known as the Division I- AA, in the Southland Conference, have lost their past 12 road games and were 3-8 a year ago.

As if MU didn't already make for a daunting enough challenge for first-year coach Ron Roberts, his team's preparations were disrupted by issues with Hurricane Isaac, which caused the school, about an hour north of New Orleans, to be closed all week.

"I don't think this is in the Coaching 101 manual; they don't cover the 'what do you do in case of a hurricane' bit," said Roberts, who was offered the job after going 47-16 his last five seasons at Division II Delta State.

Speaking during the Southland Conference media briefing, he added, "There's always something to test you. You've got to deal with it and not let it be too much of a distraction."

But it just wouldn't go away.

The team was able to salvage practices Tuesday morning and Thursday, then had to contend with further disarray Friday because of road closures between its campus and the airport in New Orleans.

So the group flew out of Baton Rouge instead, arriving in Columbia several hours late in mid-afternoon to a familiar greeting of wind and rain, assistant athletics director Matt Sullivan said by email.

For all that, though, MU defensive coordinator Dave Steckel knows past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Plus, he's a worrier.

"I respect everybody we played because it's a game, and anybody can beat anybody on any given day, and I sincerely mean that," he said Monday. …

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