COLUMBIA _ A page has been added to Missouri’s how-to-compete in the SEC playbook: Find a way to delay the game.Burst a sprinkler system, collapse a goal post with a push of a button, anything to interrupt the action. Saturday, a thunderstorm cleared the field and the stadium, and those can’t be scheduled. Best to have control of the stoppage.How else to explain the two Mizzous, who combined to fall 42-10 to top-ranked Alabama?Early Missouri might as well have stayed in the locker room. At least it was dry in there. The outclassed Tigers were headed to perhaps the biggest embarrassment in the Gary Pinkel era and then some.In six possessions, the Crimson Tide had four touchdowns and a fumble in the red zone. Missouri managed two first downs.Worse, Missouri looked like it wanted to be anywhere but Faurot. On the game’s second snap, the Tide’s Eddie Lacy motored 73 yards for a score. Energy was drained from the Tigers’ sideline and the team remained depleted into the second quarter.Then a sign from the heavens.As Alabama was lining up for the extra point to make it 28-0 with 8:40 left in the first half, lightning was spotted close enough to send the teams to the locker rooms and about two-thirds of the 71,004 capacity crowd home for good.The water logged who returned saw a different Missouri _ and Alabama.The Tigers best weapon all season, returning man Marcus Murphy, did his thing by bringing back the kickoff 98 yards for his fourth return touchdown this season. The Tigers added a field goal early in the third quarter and the blowout was stemmed. At least the record book search for worst losses had ceased.Mizzou was never going to win this game. With the nation’s best defense that held Missouri to 129 total yards and forced the ball backwards enough to limit the Tigers to three rushing yards, and with running back bulls in Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon combining for 272 yards and four touchdowns, Alabama had more than enough to ride out the storm.Alabama was the big kid, its arm on the head of the smaller guy swinging away but unable to reach the target.But at least Missouri had started swinging. Where was that from the outset?“I wouldn’t say we weren’t trying,” wide receiver T.J. Moe said.The Tigers were in new territory Saturday. It had been many years since Mizzou entered a game so seemingly overmatched. Quarterback Corbin Berkstresser making his second career start, a patchwork offensive line, and a team coming off a demoralizing loss to Vanderbilt contributed to the sense of dread felt by three-touchdown underdogs.Plus, the toughest hombres in college football were in town. Breaking down film, Pinkel said this Bama team could be the best he’d seen in a 259-game career. Moe said he’ll reevaluate his belief that the 2009 Texas Longhorns, who waxed Mizzou 41-7 in Columbia on the way to a perfect regular season was the best he’d faced.Alabama was every bit of that in the game’s early stages. It looked like the large-class school taking it to the small-class school and enjoying it.Finally Mizzou showed life, and the Tigers succeeded in getting Nick Saban to challenge his team.Effort and toughness, Saban told his guys “can’t be a sometimes thing,” Saban said. “It’s got to be an all-the-time thing.”When the Tide plays with those qualities, they will not be defeated. Pinkel and the Tigers now has a perspective college football’s power structure, having met three SEC opponents ranked in the top seven at kickoff _ Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama.The Bulldogs have since been exposed, especially on defense. The Gamecocks’ defensive front has no peer. But Alabama is close to the total package. The first BCS standing will be released tonight and everybody else will be fighting for No. 2.Missouri’s task deals with managing disappointment and salvaging a season. The Tigers took the field in the opener believing anything was possible, including a run at the division championship in its maiden SEC voyage. But a winless conference record at the halfway mark is a reality slap. Missouri needs more speed and strength to compete with the SEC muscle. And it wouldn’t hurt to occasionally keep somebody in the backfield to pick up the ferocious pass rush that part of the SEC DNA.Because as ideal as it would be to manufacture some kind of delay mechanism to shift the momentum, Missouri can’t count on that.