Entering Saturday’s contest, both Missouri (4-1,1-1) and South Carolina (2-3, 0-3) needed a win to stay alive in the SEC East. The Tigers entered the game starting a true freshman quarterback in Drew Lock for the first time since 1995.
Perhaps Missouri should turn to freshman signal-callers more often as Lock performed very well. He was efficient with the football, completing 21 of his 28 pass attempts for 136 yards and two touchdowns with zero interceptions.
The only thing that stands out as an obvious area for improvement with Lock was his 4.9 yards per attempt. That low number can likely be attributed to Lock playing it safe in his first start and not trying to turn the ball over – a good goal for a young quarterback to have.
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel praised his freshman quarterback after the win.
“Drew really did some good things for a young player,” Pinkel said at his postgame press conference. “I thought he really carried himself well.”
Under Lock, the offense managed four separate drives of 11+ plays, a large contrast to Missouri’s 9-6 win over UConn in which they managed only one offensive drive with more than 11 plays.
With Lock at the helm, the Tigers offense locked much more in sync. For that, Lock is awarded the game ball from Saturday’s win.
Ish Witter (honorable mention, offense)
Witter did a great job of taking the pressure off of Lock on Saturday. The sophomore running back carried the ball 17 times for 98 yards and scored a touchdown. Witter has become more involved in the offense since starter Russell Hansbrough has missed time with a sprained ankle.
Nate Brown (honorable mention, offense)
None of the receivers gained a lot of yards – remember, Lock played it safe most of the game – but Brown secured two touchdown grabs in the win. He finished the day with six catches for 33 yards, but scored the first two touchdowns of the game for Mizzou which helped to secure a lead and build Lock’s confidence.
Missouri secondary (honorable mention, defense)
This may be cheating a little bit, but the entire secondary deserves a mention for its play on Saturday. A strong argument can be made that Missouri should have had four interceptions against South Carolina – it had three: two by the secondary and one by a defensive lineman – but that potential pick turned into a lucky touchdown for the Gamecocks. South Carolina managed only 186 yards and one touchdown through the air.
— Represent Mizzou (@RepresentMizzou) October 3, 2015
"Drew did a lot of great things for a young player and carried himself well." – Gary Pinkel pic.twitter.com/CidyGSj2Q2
— Nick Yahl (@NickYahl) October 3, 2015