Takeaways: Lock turns in historic night in home opener

And what to expect from the Southeastern Conference opener Saturday.
Quarterback Drew Lock drops back to pass against Eastern Michigan on Sept. 10 in Columbia.

Quarterback job Locked up

For anyone who thought Missouri might employ a quarterback rotation, Drew Lock took that idea and tossed it out of Columbia.

After a week in which the Tigers’ coaching staff sent mixed messages about their plans for using Lock and Marvin Zanders, Lock tossed for 450 yards and five touchdowns at Faurot Field. His five passing touchdowns tied the single-game school record, and his 450 passing yards were third-most in school history for one game.

This wasn’t by accident. Lock planned it. After what Lock called a “bad Wednesday practice” for himself and the team, he decided to turn it into a positive outcome Saturday.

“I said, ‘guys, I was a little hot today,’” Lock said. “I said: ‘I am going to try to go for this record this week, and it won’t just say Drew Lock touchdown record. It is going to say 2016 Missouri Tigers.’ Really, that was a big thing for me to come here and have it almost end up happening. The guys wanted it for me too.”

Tight end Jason Reese, Lock’s next-door neighbor, is among those guys.

“I am just happy he finally got to showcase his talent,” Reese said.

The Missouri coaching staff took Lock out at times for Zanders in the opener against West Virginia. That did not continue against the Eagles, though. Zanders did not play until just over six minutes remained in the game.

“We felt more comfortable where it was going offensively,” coach Barry Odom said.

Odom said, however, that he is still excited about what Zanders can do, but if Lock continues on this hot streak, he won’t want to take him out of the game.

D-line who?

Who are you No. 91, No. 95, No. 97 and No. 79, and what have you done with Charles Harris, Rickey Hatley, Josh Augusta and Terry Beckner Jr.? A group that appeared in prime position to dominate opposing offensive lines in 2016 hasn’t produced and only has one sack through two games. The Tigers have a strong secondary led by Aarion Penton, but no secondary can cover opposing receivers forever without a pass rush.

The Missouri offensive line and defensive line should not have the same stat line through two games. One sack through two games is fantastic for the offensive line. But for a defensive line that prides itself on being D-line Zou, that number needs to improve if the Tigers hope to find success in the SEC.

Missouri receives a pleasant surprise

Lock took Oprah Winfrey’s approach to cars to touchdown passes instead.

Johnathon Johnson, you get a touchdown. Kendall Blanton, you get a touchdown. Ray Wingo, Emanuel Hall and Reese, you all get a touchdown. It seemed almost everybody who was an eligible receiver caught a touchdown.

Saturday’s game marked the first time five different Tigers caught a touchdown pass, and all caught their first receiving touchdown of their respective college careers.

Not a bad night for three receivers who came into the game listed as backups.

“We don’t count on experience,” Reese said. “If we counted on experience, we would win zero games.”

Because none of these players had caught a touchdown pass for Missouri before, it made Lock’s historic night even more special, he said.

“Seeing their faces after catching touchdowns was probably the coolest thing,” Lock said.

The Tigers count on playmaking, of which they got a multitude on Saturday.

It’s not a lineup filled with wide receivers known nationwide. But they don’t seem to mind it that way.

“Not too many people know about them, which is good for us,” Reese said. “But they will in the future.”

Georgia, which comes to Columbia next Saturday, will want to get to know these names if they’re to keep Missouri from having a repeat performance.

Edited by Tyler Kraft | tkraft@themaneater.com

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