A ‘new football team’ comes to play at Faurot Field

Lock is the first freshman quarterback to start in Pinkel’s 39 years as a football coach.
Missouri Tigers quarterback Drew Lock (3) celebrates with fans on Saturday, Oct. 3 against South Carolina.

Traditionally, when a team’s starting quarterback is suspended or injured, the fan base panics and accepts defeat.

Traditionally, the older, more experienced quarterback leads the team to victory.

Traditionally, a freshman quarterback is lucky to see airtime, much less start.

Nothing about this game was traditional.

Drew Lock saw his first start as a Tiger in Missouri’s 24-10 victory over South Carolina on Saturday — the first true freshman quarterback to start for Mizzou since 1995 and the first in Gary Pinkel’s 39 years as a coach.

The Lock hype train picked up some speed last Tuesday after junior Maty Mauk was suspended for disciplinary issues, and the young, baby-faced gunslinger found himself atop the depth chart.

“Coming off the loss versus Kentucky, we felt like we should’ve definitely came out with a win,” sophomore Nate Brown said. “Going into practice, coach (Pinkel) was just telling us, ‘At 11:01 on Saturday, we need to see a new football team,’ so we just took that into consideration everyday at practice, and I feel like it showed today.”

This sure was a new team, and in more ways than just the quarterback change.

From the three interceptions in a row from the defense to the 163 rushing yards from the offense and everything in between, this was a different Mizzou than the team that lost 21-13 to the Wildcats last week.

During the week, Lock kept a low profile: He limited his four-a-week Chipotle visits to two, and he deleted the Twitter app from his phone.

He did, though, go to class, and there, it wasn’t so easy to stay out of the spotlight. Professor David Vaught and his Leisure Studies peers greeted him with a round of applause.

The night before his first collegiate appearance against Southeast Missouri State last month, Lock didn’t sleep a wink. But Friday night, he “slept like a baby.”

“I knew I had to put my time and energy into this week, a little more than I have,” Lock said. “It definitely has hit me that I’m 18 years old and playing in the best conference in the country, in my opinion. It’s kind of crazy to think that.”

The new campus celebrity’s regiment must have worked.

Lock completed 21 passes in 28 events Saturday afternoon, throwing for 136 yards and two touchdowns.

Senior center Evan Boehm and Lock, both Lee’s Summit natives, celebrated together after each touchdown.

“Do you guys watch Drew after he throws a passing touchdown?” Boehm asked reporters after the game. “Like, that gets me excited. That gets me hyped. It puts a big smile on my face. He’s a heck of a quarterback, and he gets it done.”

With few time left in the game, Lock successfully ran down the clock.

The scoreboard soon read “zero” and the football players greeted fans — a tradition.

Fans and players sang the fight song together — a tradition.

Lock found his parents in the crowd and embraced them — a tradition.

Then, Boehm went over to Drew Lock’s dad, Andy, who was an offensive lineman during his time at Mizzou in the 1980s.

“You know what it’s like to be on the offensive line with a young quarterback,” Boehm told him. “This time, it’s your son. And I’ve got him. He’s on my shoulders — don’t worry about it.”

“Man, I have all the trust in you,” Andy Lock shot back. “All the trust in the world.”

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