This weekend, your University of Kentucky Wildcats will travel to Columbia, Missouri to take on the Missouri Tigers. While I hear “CoMo” is a charming college town, Mizzou’s Faurot Field is kind of strange. If you’re headed to the game or if you’re simply curious, here’s a little more about the stadium the Tigers call home.
What’s a Faurot?
Here’s where things start to get confusing. Missouri plays on Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. The building was named Memorial Stadium when it opened in 1926 in memory of the 112 alumni and students who died in World War I. The playing surface was named Faurot Field in 1972 to honor longtime coach Don Faurot, who was credited with inventing the split-T formation and wearing your whistle under your armpit:
Fun fact! According to legend, a rock crusher and a truck were buried under the field during construction and remain there today. So, like the dead UGA mascots at Sanford Stadium, but pieces of equipment instead.
Why are there rocks in the end zone?
This is a question almost every visiting fan (or player, as Charles Walker will attest) asks. The north end zone area of the stadium, aka “The Hill,” is a grassy knoll with a large “M” formed out of rocks. The tradition goes back to 1927, when freshmen created the landmark using leftover rocks from the stadium’s construction. Every year, freshmen paint the rock white prior to the first home game. After the final home game of the season, senior football players are invited to take a rock home as a souvenir.
Surely someone has messed with the M, right?
Correct. In 1957, Nebraska fans changed the M to an N before the Missouri/Nebraska game, prompting groundskeepers to keep vigil over the landmark to prevent further hijinks.
So people just sit around the rocks?
Yup. The Hill is general admission and tickets are typically sold only on game day. Some people actually sit on the rocks, which seems uncomfortable. And children throw rocks at each other, which seems like even more reason to avoid it altogether.
First downs fueled by…corn?
The fact that Kentucky has a “First Down” cheer is a little embarrassing, but can you imagine having first downs sponsored by corn? After every Missouri first down, this video plays on the video boards:
Why is there a petting zoo in the parking lot?
If you went to the Kentucky vs. Missouri game in Columbia two years ago, you may remember a petting zoo in the parking lot. The animals belong to Cindy Farmer, a Missouri fan who has been bringing her petting zoo to games since 2014. Cindy and her husband set up shop early on game days so fans can hang out with the horses, goats, donkeys, alpacas, pigs, and other animals.
Mock it all you want, but you haven’t lived until you’ve held a baby goat. This is one weird Missouri tradition I support.