Year Opened: 1926 | Field Surface: Artificial Turf
Two bluffs cradle the land to create a natural valley where the Tigers defend their home every football season. Just south of campus a stadium was carved out in 1926, with a 440-yard track encircling it, and opened in dedication to the memory of the 112 Missouri graduates that fought and died during World War I.
The inaugural game at Memorial Stadium -- now known synonymously as Faurot Field -- would result in perhaps its most famous tie.
Missouri was scheduled to take on the Green Wave from Tulane on Oct. 2, 1926. Crews were frantically working throughout the days and nights leading up to this momentous occasion when Mother Nature decided that Columbia would have another battle to contend with before any actual football game. Torrential rains, the heaviest in 35 years, delayed the laying of sod on the newly built stadium floor. The rains also washed out a key bridge east of Columbia and, though it was repaired, the anticipated opening of the 25,000-seat stadium drew a little more than 10,000 of the most-determined fans. Realizing that time had run out to lay the sod, crews worked to put down sawdust and tanbark on the field as an alternative. The Tigers of today play on artificial turf, but their very first game was also played on an artificial surface. Missouri and Tulane would play to a "scoreless, mudpie tie," as Bob Broeg coined the affair in one of his two historical books on Mizzou football.
The walls and seats of this stadium have seen many people pass through. It has hosted a crowd of 75,298 to watch a Tigers team take on Penn State in 1980. Its seating capacity was reduced in 1995, then raised in 2009 to bring official capacity to more than 71,000. That stadium has reached capacity twice in recent years, against Texas on Oct. 24, 2009, and again when No. 3 Oklahoma came into Columbia on Oct. 23, 2010.
In 1972, Missouri converted the field's name to Faurot Field in honor of one of the most legendary coaches in Tigers history. A three-sport letterman at Missouri from 1922 to 1924, Don Faurot would serve as the head football coach from 1935 to 1956, missing only three years during that span while on active duty for the Navy during World War II. As a graduate student in 1926, Faurot helped lay the field's sod during its construction. Faurot would symbolically lay the final square of sod in June 1995, when for a time Mizzou went back to fielding natural grass after years of relying on artificial turf; he would pass away during homecoming week that same year.
The "M" that guards the stadium's north end zone has become one of the more recognizable and unique stadium landmarks across the country. Carved from stone left by the cleared land on which the stadium was built, the freshman class of 1927 constructed this 90-foot-wide and 95-foot-high letter M out of whitewashed rocks. Their work was unveiled Oct. 1, 1927.
Source: University of Missouri
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