COLLEGE STATION, TX -- Mizzou and Texas A&M will be meeting for the 13th time when they square off Saturday in College Station. The Aggies hold a 7-5 edge overall in the previous 12 matchups, but the Tigers have won 5 of the last 6 games, and the series was 5-3 in MU's favor while the two schools were partners in the Big 12 Conference (1996-2011). Mizzou has enjoyed rare success of late in College Station, as it has won 3 straight and 3 of its last 4 times there.
In what is a rare scheduling quirk, Saturday will mark the 3rd-straight season that the Tigers have played on venerable Kyle Field. They hope this time will be just like the last two, as Mizzou rolled to a 30-9 win over the Aggies in 2010 behind QB Blaine Gabbert, while in 2011 it was QB James Franklin who led a big comeback to post a 38-31 overtime win.
Thanks to research from crack MUTigers.com guru Kevin Fletcher, Mizzou is looking to become the first team to ever win three straight years in College Station. The only other instance of a school playing three straight years in College Station in the modern era (since 1936) was when Arkansas went 2-1 in 1966, 1967 and 1968 there.
Prior to 2010 the Tigers posted a 40-26 win in Columbia in 2007 to move to 9-1 on the season. In that game, Mizzou surged to a 24-9 halftime lead, thanks to an 82-yard TD pass from QB Chase Daniel to WR Jeremy Maclin (MU's longest pass play in 31 years at that point), but the Aggies wouldn't go away. With rumors swirling of A&M Coach Dennis Franchione's job being on the line, A&M clawed back to within 5 points twice in the 2nd half, and had a chance to pull to 3, but a short field goal was missed by PK Matt Szymanski. After the teams traded TDs, Mizzou put the game away in the final minutes, on Maclin's 2nd TD reception (12 yards), followed by a safety on a sack in the endzone by DT Lorenzo Williams.
Mizzou dropped a 25-19 heartbreaker to A&M in 2006 in College Station, and that was preceded by an MU win in Columbia in 2003 (45-22) and a Tiger win in College Station in 2002 (33-27 in 2-OTs behind QB Brad Smith). That 2002 win was a watershed moment for the Tiger program, as MU entered that game 0-6 alltime against A&M, and it came one week after Texas A&M had just upset #1 Oklahoma on the same Kyle Field surface.
Mizzou Head Coach Gary Pinkel is 5-1 against A&M in his tenure on the Tiger sideline. This will be the first meeting between Pinkel and A&M skipper Kevin Sumlin as head coaches, but it won't be the first time they've been on opposite sidelines. Pinkel's Washington Huskies won a pair of games in 1989 and 1990 over Washington State, when Pinkel was UW's offensive coordinator (Sumlin was a GA for the Cougars). In 2002 (Pinkel's 2nd season at Mizzou), the Tigers won the aforementioned 2-OT game at Texas A&M when Sumlin was A&M's assistant head coach/offensive coordinator. Sumlin was part of four Oklahoma wins over Mizzou from 2003-07, when he served various roles on Bob Stoops' staff, including a 38-17 win over the Tigers in the 2007 Big 12 Championship game in San Antonio, when Mizzou entered the game #1 in the BCS standings, and needing a win to reach the BCS title game.