Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
COLUMBIA — Missouri football’s nation-leading turnover streak, 47 games, died Saturday, Sept. 20, at home with 66,755 at its side.
The streak was born Nov. 6, 2010, with a fumble recovery by Andrew Gachkar against Texas Tech. It lasted 1,414 days, or 202 weeks, and included 98 turnovers — more than two per game.
It passed from this life against Indiana, when the Tigers failed to force a turnover against the Hoosiers, who won 31-27.
“It’s weird,” linebacker Kentrell Brothers said. “Because, one, it’s been 47 games, and two, just knowing that we couldn’t help the offense a little bit more by getting the ball again, helping the team win. It hurts, and it’s disappointing, but it’s something that we’ll have to fix, definitely.”
The Tigers had a 66.0 win percentage (31-16) during the streak.
“The turnover streak is huge,” said Shane Ray, who had two fumble recoveries during the streak. “Each game we want to be able to get the ball back to the offense so they can score and make big plays. A takeaway is a momentum changer for us.”
The streak was raised by defensive coordinator Dave Steckel’s wife, Mary Beth, who makes a plate of brownies for each player who causes a turnover.
“Everybody wants them brownies, man,” defensive tackle Markus Golden said during camp. “So I guess that’s why it is (so long). I got to give her credit, too.”
Safety Braylon Webb, who had four interceptions and three fumble recoveries during the 47 games, said the streak was less important than Missouri’s ballhawking approach.
“It’s all about the football,” he said. “When we don’t get it, we’re down about it.”
Brothers, who had three interceptions during the streak, agreed.
“(Coaches) always preach takeaways lead to victory, and obviously that played a part,” he said. “They won the turnover battle. They won the game.”
The first stage of grief, as evidenced by Missouri coach Gary Pinkel, is denial.
“I never talked about the streak,” he said. “Everybody else did. We want to win the turnover margin. All I know is we were minus-one. … People said, ‘What’re you doing?’ like we’ve got the answer to turnovers.
“You know what, we’re just going to try to start another streak up this week the best we can.”
The streak is survived by Louisiana-Monroe, 29 games.
More facts about the life of the streak:
• Fifty-two of the turnovers were interceptions and 46 were fumble recoveries.
• Cornerback E.J. Gaines had the most Missouri takeaways during the streak, eight interceptions and three fumble recoveries.
• During the 47 games, the Tigers had more turnovers than their opponents 23 times, the same number of turnovers 16 times and fewer turnovers eight times.
• The Missouri offense committed 66 turnovers during the streak, resulting in a plus-32 turnover differential.
• The Tigers’ best turnover margins during the streak came against Southeastern Louisiana in 2012 (four takeaways to none) and Georgia in 2013 (four takeaways to none).
• The Missouri defense’s most prolific turnover year was in 2013, when the Tigers had 32 takeaways (12 fumble recoveries, 20 interceptions).
• The last player to extend the streak was an unlikely one. Six-foot-4, 335-pound defensive tackle Josh Augusta snatched a pop-fly interception off a lineman’s helmet for Missouri’s first takeaway against Central Florida in Week 3.