Missouri looks past negative fans, revive offense for SEC opener

Terry Beckner Jr.: “It’s part of the game. Us as a team, we’re going to stay behind him, because that’s our main quarterback right now. We believe in him.”
Missouri Tigers quarterback Maty Mauk (7) passes downfield against Georgia on Oct. 11, 2014, at Faurot Field in Columbia, Mo. Maneater File Photo

Three letters. One syllable. Verb, meaning to show disapproval.


The word flowed through the Faurot Field crowd into Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk’s head following an overthrown pass to sophomore receiver J’Mon Moore in the second quarter of Saturday’s 9-6 win against Connecticut.

The jeers didn’t come from the southwest side of Memorial Stadium, where the fans who had travelled all the way from Mansfield, Connecticut sat. Their origin was the east — a sea of black and gold. Not only the home crowd, but the student section.

This came soon after freshman Drew Lock entered the game and marched the Tigers into field goal range. On family weekend, down 6-2 against a supposedly inferior team, Mizzou fans were visibly upset.

Post-game, Mauk snapped back.

“It’s whatever, honestly,” he said. “If that’s how they feel, that’s how they feel. I’m not going to worry about them. That’s why they’re up in the stands and I’m down on the field.”

Mauk completed 14 passes in 22 events Saturday, passing for 145 yards. Without senior running back Tyler Hunt bulldozing through a Husky defender, though, Mauk would have thrown for just 94.

The offense, as it is, showed clear struggles — holes that evidently need to be plugged.

Freshman defensive tackle Terry Beckner Jr. spoke to the media for the first time Monday afternoon. He was happy to drown out the naysayers.

“I wouldn’t say anything to (the booing fans),” Beckner said. “It’s part of the game. Us as a team, we’re going to stay behind him, because that’s our main quarterback right now. We believe in him. He’s going to get through and he’s got the whole team behind him, the coaches behind him. He’s just got to block it out. It’s a part of the game. You’re going to have some bad games, you’re going to have some good games.”

On the other side of the ball, Beckner was promoted to first string on the Tigers’ depth chart after his performance against UConn.

Lock was asked about it before having found out for himself on Monday.

“That’s the first time I heard about that,” he said. “Good for him, he’s the man. (I’m) not at all (surprised he’s starting so early in his career). The kid’s a beast. I don’t know why I just called him a kid — he’s a man.”

The struggling offense will receive some help in its Southeastern Conference opener at Kentucky this week with the potential return of senior running back Russell Hansbrough, who had been out with an ankle injury.

“I think when (Hansbrough) gets back he can be a huge difference, like most starters at most schools,” coach Gary Pinkel said. “I think, number one, he's got to be healthy. We'll see whether he is or not. If he's not healthy, we've got to go out and do it anyway, so that's something we're going to work real hard this week on to get better.”

Every week, Pinkel has a sit-down with a specific group of players. During Monday’s media availability, he was asked what positions he’ll be meeting with before the Tigers arrive in Lexington, Kentucky, this weekend.

“I bet you know the answer to that,” Pinkel told the reporter. “We expect a little more consistency (from the offense). That's something we've got to work through. Frustrating for fans, I don't blame them. Bottom line, we've got to fix it. We're going to work hard to do it and hopefully come out of it quick.”

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