Wheeler: Missouri State at Missouri outside the gates of Faurot Field

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Music blared across hundreds of contrasting black, gold, maroon and white shirts on the bodies of students and adults packed behind a house on the campus of the University of Missouri, Sept. 2.

It is where some fans gathered beyond the gates of Faurot Field before a Missouri State and Missouri’s football matchup for the first time since 1923.

“It means everything to me,” said Adam Basler, junior at Missouri State University. “I love, love the Missouri State camaraderie.”

However, in the stadium, some of MSU’s coaching staff experienced Faurot Field in a way they hadn’t before. Bears head coach Dave Steckel, the former Missouri football defensive coordinator and MSU safeties coach Kenji Jackson, wide receivers coach Jason Ray and running back coach Manuir Prince played for the Tigers in the Big 12 era.

The first time experience for fans, as well , made students and families talk about the beauty of an in-state football game but also, an in-state get together.

Thousands of MSU students and fans traveled 165 miles north to gather with friends of the opposing team.

“I feel like a lot of people from hometowns came together, a lot of people they might not have seen in awhile and maybe even highschool friends that came together here,” said Missouri student Isiah Sykes.

Many MSU students made the trip to Columbia the day before staying with friends or at home with family because of the 11 a.m kickoff the next day.

“It’s a lot of fun, we have kids at both…so we are kind of cheer a little bit for both.” said a dad outside of Mizzou Arena. “We would bring more people back,” his wife later commented.

Other Missouri fans sprinkled in their view on MSU visiting their school.

Two signs that hung from Missouri housing premises read: Google: what is mo st?

Another said: Mo. State = poor persons Mizzou.

The in-state competition brought the word ‘‘rivalry’ out of a couple fans mouths. Missouri, being the “Show-Me State”, seemed to be true in application with Missouri’s examination of the Bears.

“It’s a much more exciting game for Mo State,” said a Missouri student.

As a former Missouri basketball player expressed in a tweet his thought of a recurring game against Bears, who are categorized as a Football Championship Subdivision school, being comparable to playing zero competition.  

“No offense to Missouri State, but the day we have a rivalry with an FCS school is the day we should scrap playing major high school athletics,” the tweet read. This statement was made in quote to a tweet that read , “A lot of students I talked to, both Missouri State and Missouri, want to see this game become a tradition.”

In relation, it was also a concern among Missouri fans to give money to an in-state competitor that is struggling to keep their student population to previous numbers.

According to school documents compiled by USA TODAY Sports reporters John Schwartz and Steve Berkowitz, MSU was paid $400,000 to play the Tigers, Sept. 2.

The next possible meeting on the gridiron between the two Missouri schools is unknown. However, the next time the two universities will meet is a women’s basketball matchup Nov. 19 at JQH Arena.

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