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TIGER KICKOFF: Five things about Missouri's Homecoming game

Thursday, October 13, 2011 | 5:30 p.m. CDT

Between the daily drama that is conference realignment and the hullabaloo of the 100th Homecoming, it might be easy to forget that there is actually a football game Saturday. Here's five things that might give you some insight on what will happen between the white lines Saturday.

  1. There's a trophy involved: Most MU fans probably don't consider Iowa State a major rival, but the winner of the game will take home the Telephone Trophy, which currently has a home in the trophy case of the Mizzou Athletics Training Complex. The Tigers have owned the trophy since 2007, winning four straight meetings.
    The history of the trophy dates back to a game in Ames in 1959, when, according to the Iowa State website, the team's coaching staffs could hear each other's phone connections from the field to the press box during the pregame. The trophy was introduced the next year.
  2. The Tigers haven't been under .500 since November 6, 2004: But they enter Saturday's game at 2-3. The last time Missouri was under .500, Facebook was limited to Harvard, Yale and Stanford; Twitter had yet to be invented and George W. Bush had just been elected for the second time. 
  3. Both teams are in the skids: Both Missouri and Iowa State have lost their first two conference games. After a 3-0 start, Paul Rhoads' Cyclones lost at home to Texas and at Baylor to put their bowl hopes in jeopardy if they lose a third in a row in Columbia. Missouri is also struggling, having lost both of its conference games and picking up wins against a 1-4 Miami (Ohio) team and Western Illinois, a Football Championship Subdivision team.
  4. Back to the fast pace: After dealing with Kansas State's deliberate style on offense last week, Missouri will return to facing a team that likes to get up and snap the ball quickly in Iowa State. The Cyclone offense, led by quarterback Steele Jantz, has run the ninth most plays per game in the nation thus far at 80.5.
  5. It could be ugly on third down: Missouri is 113th in the nation out of 120 teams — and last in the Big 12 — on third down, converting on just 26.5 percent of its chances. Iowa State hasn't been a whole lot better, ranking ninth in the Big 12 and in the bottom half of the nation at 72nd with a conversion rate of 37.9.
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