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story.lead_photo.caption Missouri quarterback Connor Bazelak prepares to throw during a drill during a spring practice in Columbia. Photo by Colin O'Brien / News Tribune.

COLUMBIA, Mo. — It won't be a packed house, but the Missouri football program will conclude its spring practices with an open spring game at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Missouri plans to admit 6,000 fans to the spring game at Faurot Field, about half of the attendance during football games in the fall. Attendees will be required to wear masks and sit in groups of two or four. Concession stands and restrooms will be open.

Fans can reserve tickets for free through Ticketmaster at www.mutigers.com/springgame. As of Tuesday evening, Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said half of the allotment had been claimed.

The game will also be televised on SEC Network-Plus.

The Tigers won't be going through a four-quarter scrimmage.

"It's not going to just be a Black and Gold game, we're going to practice. We've got to take advantage of the opportunity to get better," Drinkwitz said. "So you're gonna see us compete in a bunch of different drills. There will be some live situations that occur too, but it won't be just a first, second, third and fourth quarter football game."

Missouri fans can expect to see several promising newcomers who have earned their jersey numbers: freshman wide receivers Mookie Cooper (No. 5) and Dominic Lovett (No. 7), freshman quarterback Tyler Macon (No. 10), freshman defensive back Daylan Carnell (No. 13), freshman cornerback Zxaequan Reeves (No. 30) and junior transfer defensive linemen Daniel Robledo (No. 56) and Realus George (No. 91).

III

The Missouri athletic department is continuing to move forward with its proposed full-length indoor practice facility for the football program.

Missouri is budgeting for the project's base cost to be at least $25,467,000, and likely closer to $34 million, and the facility will be 86,400 gross square feet, allowing for a full-length football field, including end zones, as well as run-off zones for player safety. The current indoor facility, Devine Pavilion, which was completed in 1998 at a cost of $12 million, has a 70-yard field and is also used by the softball, baseball and soccer programs for year-round training.

In a meeting with reporters Feb. 23 before the men's basketball game against Mississippi, Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk said the project was moving along. At least two dump trucks were parked Tuesday afternoon on Lot C west of Memorial Stadium, the proposed site for the indoor facility.

"The design should be completed by the May board (of curators) meeting and we're hopeful to have a financing plan by then, so that we can move forward and then it would be an 18-month construction period," Sterk said Feb. 23.

Both because of optics and because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on budgets everywhere, Sterk and the Missouri athletic department committed to privately financing the indoor facility. Curator Greg E. Hoberock, appointed to the board in 2020 by Gov. Mike Parson to represent District 3, told Sterk in early February he would be a "no" vote on the facility if it wasn't fully financed by private funds.

The Missouri athletic department has publicly received at least $20 million in private donations since announcing a plan to build a new indoor facility specifically for the football program. Anonymous individuals have made two $10 million donations for the project. The athletic department also announced a $1.4 million donation Monday, which would go to both the football facility and the athletic department's plans to renovate parts of Mizzou Arena.

Drinkwitz said Tuesday the athletic department may be close to fully financing the proposed facility.

"Very excited, obviously," he said when asked about Monday's donation. "I think we're about $27 million in to a $32 or $34 million project. I challenged our team, our administration, our fans, let's go all-in: let's make our seat at the table in the SEC. And there's been some fans and supporters that have really stepped up to the plate."

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