Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
COLUMBIA — When the Missouri football team takes on Southeast Missouri State today, it will be just the fourth time the Tigers have played an in-state opponent, according to the Missouri athletic department. The Tigers are undefeated all-time against such teams.
The claim, however, is a bit misleading. The Tigers are, in fact, 3-0 against teams that are currently in either the Football Bowl Subdivision or Football Championship Subdivision. In its history, however, Missouri has played 23 different in-state foes, according to the college football database Winsipedia.com.
Of those opponents, just 10 still have football teams, and only SEMO and Missouri State field football teams in FCS. (Missouri is the only FBS school in the state.)
Overall, Missouri has gone 95-29-5 against in-state opponents. Saint Louis University is the only in-state school against which Missouri does not have a winning record. The programs played to a 10-10-1 standstill.
Between SEMO and Missouri State, the Tigers are a combined 3-0. Missouri defeated the Redhawks 52-3 in 2008 and 20-0 in 1936. The Tigers won 10-0 in 1923 in their lone game against Missouri State, which Missouri is scheduled to host in 2017.
Missouri will pay SEMO $385,000 to play today’s game.
“That always gives you an opportunity financially to help in-state schools,” Pinkel said. “I think there’s a plus to that. There isn’t any question.”
SEMO enters its second season under head coach Tom Matukewicz. The Redhawks went 5-7 last season, 3-5 in the Ohio Valley Conference. SEMO is 1-14 all-time against FBS teams, the lone win coming against Middle Tennessee in 2002. In 2014, the Redhawks fell to FBS opponent Kansas 34-28.
Senior DeMichael Jackson led Redhawks with 734 rushing yards last season, scoring five touchdowns on 137 carries. Iowa Western Community College transfer Tay Bender makes his debut at quarterback today for SEMO.
Team captain Paul McRoberts led SEMO with 711 receiving yards and nine touchdown catches in just seven games last season. McRoberts, one of three Redhawks to be named FCS preseason All-America, has also played for the SEMO basketball team.
Scherer, a fellow St. Louis native, grew up playing against McRoberts in basketball.
“He’s no different than a No. 1 SEC receiver,” Scherer said. “He could come out and start on any team in this league. I know that from being around him for a good portion of my life, and I know that from watching him on film.”