The Missouri-Texas football rivalry, a one-sided affair that rarely has generated off-field headlines during the Big 12 era, will go out with a bang instead of a whimper in Saturday's final meeting between the teams as conference rivals.
Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, a St. Louis native, made sure of that by telling a Columbia, Mo., television station that he hates "people from Texas" and considers the state "overrated" in terms of producing college football talent.
Reminded that the Tigers are 1-7 against the Longhorns during the Big 12 era, including an 0-5 mark under current coach Gary Pinkel, Richardson told a reporter from KOMU-TV: "I know. We're going to change that."
The teams meet Saturday in Columbia, Mo., with No. 16 Texas (6-2, 3-2 in Big 12) on a two-game winning streak and Missouri (4-5, 2-4) coming off a 42-39 loss to Baylor in the Tigers' final Big 12 season before joining the Southeastern Conference.
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During the TV interview, posted Tuesday on the station's website under the link "No Love Lost for Longhorns," Richardson left no room for interpretation when discussing his dislike for Texas and Texans.
"I hate people from Texas," Richardson said. "I give people on our team from Texas a hard time because they're from Texas. I hate Texas. I just do. I hate Texas. Any other overrated state in football, I pretty much hate. That's how I feel about it."
Missouri's roster features 35 players from Texas, including quarterback James Franklin (Lake Dallas) and tailback Henry Josey (Angleton), the team's primary offensive playmakers. Richardson, who competed in the 2009 U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, said Texas' reputation as a football hotbed is "blown out of proportion. It really is. I played against their best recruits and I wasn't impressed at all."
Asked about Richardson's comments after Tuesday's practice, Texas running back D.J. Monroe said: "People can say what they want to say about us. But we don't do too much talking. We just show it on the field."
Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, son of former Dallas Cowboys standout Jim Jeffcoat, said: "There's no reaction. I'm not going to even talk about that."
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Jimmy Burch, 817-390-7760