On Saturday, Missouri did what it was supposed to do and then some, rolling to a 38-7 win over West Virginia in Columbia. The Tigers (1-1) were two-touchdown favorites against the Mountaineers (1-1), and they went right to work making this a non-competitive afternoon in the sun at Faurot Field. 

Missouri led 10-0 after the first quarter, and 31-0 at halftime, turning the second half into a cruise. A week after having a minus-3 turnover differential at Wyoming, Missouri was plus-3, notching three interceptions from the Mountaineers.

Missouri outgained West Virginia 382-171. It was a thoroughly dominating performance, especially from the Tiger defense.

Now Missouri is largely back on track heading into a historic weekend in Columbia. On Saturday, Missouri hosts Southeast Missouri State (6:30 p.m. on SEC Network alternate channel) in the Tigers’ 500th game at Memorial Stadium.

No offense intended to the Redhawks, but it’s a little unfortunate the caliber of opponent isn’t a little higher for this momentous event. Nevertheless, this game is still a chance to celebrate a way of life, an abundance of traditions and experiences and returning to the same place every autumn.

Most people just refer to Missouri’s home venue as Faurot Field, even if that is technically the name of the playing surface, and the entire structure is Memorial Stadium.

It is one of several Memorial Stadiums across the country, built as the sport of college football was erupting and schools needed much bigger stadiums, and as the country was looking to honor the the sacrifices of soldiers in World War I. It was simply the Great War then, or the World War, in the 1920s. MU had two projects to honor the fallen alumni in that war that changed the world, the recognizable Memorial Union on campus, and Memorial Stadium in a natural valley south of campus.

Missouri dedicated the stadium to the 112 alumni and students who died in the war, with the first game on Oct. 2, 1926, against Tulane. As can happen in Missouri in October, torrential rains fell, which didn’t allow for the field to be sodded due to the wet conditions. Missouri and Tulane played on an improvised surface of sawdust and tree bark, although the game was pretty much a muddy slog. It ended in a 0-0 tie, naturally.

The stadium has seen renovations through the years, but it has always been an idyllic spot to spend and a fall Saturday. The trees still rise about the south end zone to add fall color. The Rock M has been there since the second season.

Tiger fans have experienced a wide variety of emotions at Memorial Stadium, and they have seen memorable moments, victories and defeats, so much drama.

Whether Missouri wins or loses, and whether you watch in person or on TV or listen on the radio, Memorial Stadium has been the backdrop for games enjoyed with friends and family for generations. That’s pretty special, and worth celebrating as the odometer hits 500 games.

By Benjamin Herrold