The University of Missouri's Memorial Stadium was dedicated on October 2, 1926 to the lasting legacies of 112 students and alumni that lost their lives fighting for America in World War I. Situated just south of the MU campus in Columbia, MO, the playing surface at Memorial was dubbed Faurot Field in honor of legendary Tigers head coach Don Faurot.
Originally accommodating just 25,000 spectators, additional seating was gradually added to the stadium over a period of 50 years. By 1978, Memorial reached its present day seating capacity of 71,004, currently making it the third largest venue in the Big XII.
Though not one of the most historically significant or tradition rich venues in college football, Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium is nevertheless a more than serviceable home for the Missouri Tigers.
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The concessions at Faurot Field are typical to what most college football stadiums across the country offer. Every variety of ballpark fare is offered, and various food stands are titled Stadium Diner, Sideline Grill, End Zone Grill, Tiger Treats, and Taste of Missouri.
Traditional stadium food is priced reasonably. Nachos are $4.50, a large popcorn is $4, and peanuts and french fries each cost $3.50. Local BBQ sandwiches and a burger and fries go for $8, while Gatorade, a regular soda, and water bottles are $4 per drink.
Enjoying a decade-long rise back to national relevance under 11th year coach Gary Pinkel, Mizzou fans arrive early to tailgate in Memorial's surrounding parking lots. Not offered the most idyllic pre-game celebration setting, the rabid Tiger faithful aren't bothered; they eat, drink, and party like the Big XII's best. Pop-up tents, RVs, massive charcoal grills, and portable entertainment centers crowd Memorial's asphalt prior to kickoff, and the stadium's re-entry policy allows for a halftime binge of fun as well.
By no means a late-arriving crowd, Mizzou fans relish the opportunity to see Tigers players and coaches emerge through machine-induced fog from the south end of the stadium. As Guns N' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle" blares over the loud speakers, students and even alumni help set the tone for their Tigers by wildly jumping and cheering as the game quickly approaches. In terms of pre-game stadium atmosphere, Missouri's is no doubt second to few in the Big XII.
Perhaps subdued by an underwhelming debut from the Mizzou offense, the crowd's intensity waned at times as the game wore on. However, with every opponent's third down the fans rose to their feet and created a ruckus sure to spur on Tigers defenders and help wreak havoc on their offensive counterparts.
What makes Memorial's atmosphere exceptional, though, is the fun had by those with general admission tickets on the north end of the stadium. A grassy hill lies behind the end zone, and a huge, rock-made "M" sits dead in the center. Children and younger fans frequent this area, and that vantage point and overall experience give a backyard or high school type feel to Big XII football. On a crisp autumn day, there's surely no better spot to watch a game in the conference.
Located southwest of the MU campus, Memorial Stadium's surrounding area is average at best. A hospital sits just north of it, and large, traffic-filled roads abound. Faurot Field's encircling parking lots make for good access, but hardly an aesthetically pleasing scene. The Grove of Ole Miss this certainly isn't.
However, the nearby downtown area helps make up for the industrious backdrop immediately outside the stadium's doors. Local restaurants and bars give downtown typical college town charm, and the streets are filled by a black and gold clad army before and after gametime. Harpo's "" a sprawling brick bar and grill with a second floor patio "" is a favorite of Mizzou fans, and it's easy to see why. Offering a vast selection of draft beer and above-average bar food, the classic wooded interior littered with big screen TVs makes for the perfect college watering hole.
The Missouri faithful are a dedicated bunch. Despite temperatures in the 90s with a blinding sun and little breeze, the vast majority of fans remained in their seats until the game was decided in the final minutes.
Just as impressive, Mizzou fans treat going to the game as anything but a social event; hand-shakes and hellos are prevalent, but they take a clear backseat to the action on the field. Discussion is limited almost solely to football, just the way it should be. Like any true fan base, the crowd reacts with overwhelming negativity to anything that doesn't go the Tigers' way. For instance, boos reigned in on the officials from all sides for several additional plays after a questionable unnecessary roughness call. Clearly, Missouri fans are emotionally invested in the game.
Between the third and fourth quarters, "The Missouri Waltz" is played by the student band and mass crowd participation ensues. Hand-waving, singing, and general school pride is on full display, and it's an impressive sight.
As previously mentioned, Memorial Stadium's surrounding parking lots and roadways make for relatively easy access to watch the Tigers. Parking overflow lies just a short walk away, and leaving the game is made tolerable by numerous exits and roads on all sides. As with any major sporting event, waiting in traffic coming to and from the stadium goes with the territory of attending a Missouri football game.
Memorial offers an average number of bathrooms, which are neither impressive nor depressing in upkeep. Lines tend to form between quarters, but are no longer than at any other college football venue. A wide ground concourse keeps walking traffic to a minimum, and multiple staircases to the upper levels of the stadium do the same.
No matter your ambition, taking in a game at Faurot Field will be a positive experience. The Missouri crowd and general stadium atmosphere help make watching the Tigers enjoyable for a casual, tailgate-loving fan or a play-dissecting football junkie.
The $46 seated ticket price is on par with those across the country, and concession prices are as well. For a college football experience that toes the line between above-average and exceptional, a trip to Faurot Field more than makes the grade.
One additional point for that large stone M which makes for a unique, and visually pleasing addition to the stadium.
Went to a game as a kid and wasn't overly impressed. I realize the stadium has likely changed, specifically because they were terrible then and are much better now. I have been to games at several ACC, SEC, and Big12 stadiums and it doesn't match the atmosphere at the best SEC/ACC/Big12 stadiums.
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