An era ended for Missouri after a damp, dreary, lopsided victory over North Carolina in the Independence Bowl.
When scattered Tigers fans chanted "S-E-C!" after the 41-24 triumph Monday at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, La., Missouri's last game as a Big 12 Conference member was complete. Gone are annual meetings against Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and other regional rivals that span generations. The SEC waits as well as all tests that come with playing in the country's premier league.
Before Missouri moves on, the Tigers' victory Monday offered a chance to mark their progress since the Big Eight Conference and Southwestern Conference merged to form the Big 12 before the 1996 season.
Missouri ripped North Carolina for 337 yards rushing in beating the uninspired Tar Heels led by lame-duck interim coach Everett Withers. Sophomore quarterback James Franklin passed for 132 yards with a touchdown and an interception in a program-record seventh straight bowl game.