Missouri’s Drew Lock has been among the most prolific quarterbacks in SEC history, but the impressive statistical profile had always come with a qualifier: Until Saturday’s 38-17 win against No. 11 Florida in Gainesville, Lock had not beaten a ranked team in his career as a starter. In fact, this season has been an adjustment for Lock. After leading the country in touchdown passes (44) and the SEC in passing yards and pass efficiency, Lock entered this week with just one touchdown and five interceptions against SEC opponents. The Tigers just loss a heartbreaker to Kentucky at home on a walk-off touchdown following a penalty in the end zone, falling to 0-4 in SEC play. The NFL Draft scouts don’t adjust their expectations for what Lock can be at the next level, but for the senior from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, this month represents the last chance to answer critics about his time in college football.
“The things he’s done over his career for our program, our university our state. He’s forever a Tiger,” Missouri coach Barry Odom told the SEC Network after the game. “It means a lot to him to do things the right way.”
Lock has gone through head coaching and offensive coordinator changes during his career, which will finish with him being ranked alongside the most prolific quarterbacks in SEC history. His three-touchdown performance against Florida moved him past both Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning on the SEC’s all-time passing touchdowns list.
Here are hree things to know about Missouri knocking off Florida in the Swamp on Saturday.
1. Florida still has no stability at quarterback: Dan Mullen opted to sit quarterback Feleipe Franks in favor of Kyle Trask in the second half, and Trask’s performance leading a touchdown drive in the third quarter was impressive enough to start the conversation about a switch moving forward. Early success this season suggested that the Dan Mullen Effect was going to be enough to advance Franks’ development to a point where he would be one of the better quarterbacks in the conference. By halftime, it was worth wondering whether he’s even the right quarterback for Florida, following up a mistake-filled game against Georgia with another poor performance against Missouri.
2. Missouri’s postseason future looks much more favorable: Heading into this game at 4-4, Missouri was staring down the need to win two of its final four conference games in order to make a bowl game. Now that magic number is down to one, with Vanderbilt, Tennessee (on the road) and Arkansas left on the schedule. Right now, it seems like a team that lost a lot of close games to this point has started getting the favorable bounces and suddenly could finish the year at 8-4.
3. The Tigers defensive line is woefully underrated: Missouri has one of the best defensive line groups in the SEC, and no one has really spent time highlighting their play this season. One of the primary reasons that Florida couldn’t get anything going on offense was how disruptive Missouri was up front, and their excellence has fallen second to the storyline of Drew Lock’s struggles since conference play began. Terry Beckner Jr. and Tre Williams were superstars on Saturday, leading an effort that held Florida to 3-for-15 on third down.
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