Missouri, the SEC’s zombie team, finished its back-from-the-dead second half of the season with a 48-45 Black Friday win over Arkansas.
The Tigers went from 1-5 to 7-5, from 0-4 in the conference to 4-4. An absolutely stunning turnaround, and one that happened for a number of reasons, but perhaps none more important than the play of junior quarterback Drew Lock.
And now that’s “SEC passing touchdown record holder Drew Lock,” to you, thank you very much.
Lock broke the SEC’s single-season passing touchdown record during the win over Arkansas, throwing for 5 touchdowns to bring his season total to 43. It broke the previous record of 40, set by Andre Woodson in 2007. It also broke the “unofficial” record of 42, set by Florida’s Danny Wuerffel in 1996, but that was before bowl stats were counted in conference single-season records.
Lock’s final stat line for the regular season: 3,695 yards, 43 touchdowns, 12 interceptions. A passer rating of 169.4.
It was his incredible play following the loss to Auburn that helped turn Missouri’s season around, and the SEC Country Power Poll voters didn’t ignore that. Missouri checks in at No. 8 in the final poll of the regular season.
Missouri’s ascent out of the abyss is even more stark now, as complete coaching chaos reigns across the SEC. From College Station, Texas, to Starkville, Miss., and Knoxville, Tenn., to Gainesville, Fla., uncertainty abounds as we approach bowl season and then the offseason.
The only uncertainty in Columbia, Mo., however, is whether Lock will return for his senior year. So here’s my plea, Drew:
Sure, NFL teams have a stalker mentality when it comes to any quarterback with a pulse, and there’s a real chance Lock could be picked in the top half of the draft should he decide to leave.
But there’s a lot left on the table in Columbia should Lock stay. Missouri returns weapons galore on offense, including two of the top three receivers (Emanuel Hall, Johnathon Johnson), two of the top three running backs (Damarea Crockett, Larry Rountree III), all five starting offensive linemen and the top two tight ends in Albert Okwuegbunam and Kendall Blanton.
See all those Missouri passing records, Drew? They could be yours. All of them. Passing yards (12,515). Passing touchdowns (101). With the weapons you’ll have, your 2018 numbers could even make your 2017 ones blush.
And look at the landscape of the SEC East! Yes, Georgia will be there and will be quite good. South Carolina is the only other SEC East team that has a mix of stability and talent. There are smoldering dumpster fires in Knoxville and Gainesville, and Kentucky and Vanderbilt are — well, they’re Kentucky and Vanderbilt.
Missouri will be good next year, and if things bounce the right way, the Tigers could be REALLY good. The NFL will still be there. Injuries happen, but no starting quarterback in the SEC has gone has untouched as Lock has the last two years (26 sacks allowed total in that span).
Stay for one more year, Drew. There’s too many reasons why it makes sense.
Take a look at the latest SEC Country Power Poll yourself, and see exactly why Missouri will be relevant in 2018 with you.
Your Week 13 Power Poll rankingsResults are below:
|1||Auburn (10 - 4)||286||22||2||1||1|
|2||Alabama (13 - 1)||256||0||1||2||3|
|3||Georgia (13 - 2)||250||0||3||2||3|
|4||LSU (9 - 4)||220||0||5||4||4|
|5||Mississippi State (9 - 4)||187||0||4||5||8|
|6||South Carolina (9 - 4)||162||0||6||5||10|
|7||Texas A&M (7 - 6)||151||0||7||5||10|
|8||Missouri (7 - 6)||133||0||8||5||10|
|9||Kentucky (7 - 6)||107||0||9||6||12|
|10||Ole Miss (6 - 6)||103||0||11||6||13|
|11||Florida (4 - 7)||63||0||10||8||13|
|12||Arkansas (4 - 8)||47||0||12||8||14|
|13||Vanderbilt (5 - 7)||36||0||14||11||13|
|14||Tennessee (4 - 8)||1||0||13||13||14|
This week's voters:
Alex Hickey (SEC Country)
Alex Martin Smith (SEC Country)
Andrew Astleford (SEC Country)
Ben Wolk (SEC Country)
Brandon Walker (SEC Country)
Chip Towers (DawgNation)
Chris Kirschner (SEC Country)
Christopher Walsh (SEC Country)
Eric Bolin (SEC Country)
Joe Mussatto (SEC Country)
Jordan Mcpherson (SEC Country)
Justin Ferguson (SEC Country)
Ken Bradley (SEC Country)
Lauren Shute (SEC Country)
Marq Burnett (SEC Country)
Mike Griffith (SEC Country)
Thomas Neumann (SEC Country)
Trent Shadid (SEC Country)