COLUMBIA, Mo. — When the hoopla of Missouri's first SEC game finally faded, it was Georgia players that jumped into the stands and celebrated the 41-20 win with their fans.
Chants of "grown man football" rained down as the north corner of Faurot Field — covered in red — celebrated the win and the fact that the Bulldogs weren't among the many FBS teams on Saturday to be upset.
And in the end, the Georgia fans were the only ones left.
Their chants were in response to Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson telling media that he thought Georgia played "old man football." And when Georgia finally took the lead in the second half, the Georgia fans started chanting that after every score.
Their celebration drove Missouri fans from the stadium and dejected Missouri players to their locker room. Missouri's grand "Welcome to the SEC" celebration was taken over by Georgia and turned what should have been a positive message into a negative connotation.
But Missouri shouldn't feel all that bad. A better team with faster players beat the Tigers. But the Tigers did hold their own through the first half. It was an ill-timed fake punt in the second half that began Missouri's demise and it was never able to wrap its arms back around a game that started rolling downhill at an uncontrollable pace.
Like Texas A&M — the other new member of the SEC — Missouri made the game interesting. It gave Georgia fits, provided some tense moments, and gave Tiger fans a sliver of hope that an upset was possible. But Missouri's transformation into an SEC program is not one that's going to happen overnight and the respect of the conference is something that might take years to earn.
It's been awhile since opposing fans ushered Missouri out of its own stadium, but it probably won't be the last time it happens, especially while the Tigers go through the growing pains of their new league.