Notebook: Scherer’s first interception, a birthday celebration and more

Take a look into Nick’s notebook after Missouri’s 79-0 victory over Delaware State on Saturday.
Senior defensive back John Gibson, 5, moves down the field at the start of the play.

After linebacker Michael Scherer intercepted a Delaware State pass in the first quarter on Saturday, he immediately brought the ball to the sideline where DeMontie Cross awaited him.

Cross, Missouri’s defensive coordinator, proceeded to give Scherer a hug almost as colossal as Missouri’s margin of victory, and for good reason.

When Scherer, a redshirt senior, jumped that route, it was the first time he picked off a football in his collegiate career. An interception was one of the few stats Scherer had not registered in his strong Missouri career. Up until the Delaware State game, Scherer had made 238 tackles and 15.5 tackles-for-loss.

He just hadn’t intercepted a pass, which Cross intended to change when he came to Missouri during the offseason.

“All year in the preseason, as soon as he got here, all he kept saying was: ‘You’re going to get a pick, you’re going to get a pick,’” Scherer said.

Scherer fulfilled Cross’ prediction, which prompted the embrace immediately after.

“I finally got it, so I had to go up to him and give him a hug,” Scherer said.

Twenty-one and having fun

Missouri offensive lineman Kevin Pendleton couldn’t have asked for a much better way to celebrate his 21st birthday.

Pendleton helped Missouri score 79 points, the most the Tigers have scored in 126 years. He played an integral part in keeping Delaware State from sacking quarterback Drew Lock as Lock passed for 402 yards and five touchdowns, which ties Missouri’s record for touchdown passes in one game.

Pendleton couldn’t help but smile thinking about it after the game.

“It means a lot,” he said. “It is exciting. Your hard work pays off throughout the week.”

Keeping the Hornets’ defense off of Lock is even more impressive with the shifting the offensive line did in the game. Alec Abeln, who filled in for Samson Bailey at center, left the field with an ankle injury. AJ Harris had to come in at right guard, and Jonah Dubinski had to play center.

Pendleton said it was “awesome” to see players such as Dubinski and Harris come in and succeed.

“If a guy goes down, you have to be able to play whatever positions needs to be filled,” Pendleton said. “We did a good job of that this week.”

Seeing backup offensive linemen come in and succeed is a birthday gift in itself for Pendleton if he or any other offensive linemen go down throughout the year.

Injury report

Ankle injuries have bothered many Missouri players lately.

Running backs Alex Ross and Nate Strong, as well as linebacker Terez Hall and cornerback Logan Cheadle, all missed the game with ankle injuries. Bailey could have played in the game, but Missouri coach Barry Odom chose not to play him because of Missouri’s big lead.

“We’ve had a bunch of [ankle injuries],” Odom said. “Most of them have been guys getting rolled up on and not seeing it coming from behind.”

Abeln left the game with a left ankle injury as well, but Odom didn’t sound too concerned.

“He’s not a very good dancer, but he was dancing in the locker room, so it was OK I think,” Odom said. “We will see how he looks tomorrow.”

Wide receivers Ray Wingo and Justin Smith also missed the game with a right hamstring injury and right knee injury, respectively.

The Tigers had enough depth at wide receiver to survive without Wingo and Smith, but Odom said he was worried about the running backs.

Only three running backs came into the game healthy with Strong and Ross out. Odom said Missouri almost chose to activate walk-on true freshman Dawson Downing. They didn’t have to, though, and Odom is glad they didn’t.

“He is a guy who works extremely hard, so we really didn’t want to do that,” Odom said.

Wide receiver Dominic Collins also missed the game because Odom suspended him for “academic purposes.” He will be back with them Sunday, Odom said.

Edited by Peter Baugh | pbaugh@themaneater.com

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