1. The story book has, at worst, a good ending
The postgame coverage following Missouri's 20-16 win over BYU was awesome. The SEC Network simply stood back and watched as Gary Pinkel's players surrounded him, danced around him, coaxed a little dance out of him, and headed back toward the locker room. There were grins and a few tears.
That this happened at Arrowhead Stadium, the site of Pinkel's greatest moment about eight years ago, was poetic.
If this was Gary Pinkel's last win, that's a pretty awesome ending. Obviously we hope for another win or two (or three). And with the improvement Missouri has shown in recent weeks, the Tigers will have a fighting chance at that. But that's the ceiling. The floor is now settling for last night as Pinkel's last wonderful moment, his "Faurot carried off after beating Kansas." I'll take it.
2. 244 yards felt like 450
Your reaction to something is dictated by your standards. When Chase Daniel was at his peak, even great numbers felt disappointing. For instance: remember that 2008 game against Oklahoma State? Of course you do. It was awful. We like to talk about how bad Chase Daniel was in that game and how we all just knew he had to be fighting an injury or something. Well ... he completed 39 of 52 passes for 390 yards. Yes, he threw three picks and took two sacks. And yes, he averaged just 6.9 yards per pass attempt (inc. sacks), which isn't great. But that was "awful" for Daniel.
It works the opposite way, too. After such breakdowns in pass protection, after so many drops, after so many freshman reads from Drew Lock, it felt like a little bit of success was a world of success.
Lock completed 19 of 28 passes for 244 yards, a touchdown, a pick, and zero sacks. That's 8.7 yards per attempt. Granted, he threw a couple of end zone prayers that could have easily been intercepted, but he also had a couple of nice passes dropped, so maybe there's justice in that average.
8.7 is a good day at the office. For the first time in a while, we got another glimpse of a strong offensive future. And considering all that happened this past week, we probably needed it as much Lock he did.
3. 244 yards felt like 450, part 2
BYU's Tanner Mangum also threw for 244 yards. Because of our standards for this defense, it felt like he was picking Mizzou apart. BYU receivers were able to win some one-on-one matchups, and H-back Francis Bernard had that huge 35-yard catch-and-run down the sideline.
Mangum averaged 5.7 yards per pass attempt. It took him 41 passes to gain those 244 yards, and while he only got sacked once (both teams did a wonderful job of keeping pass rushes off their quarterback, both in line play and play-calling), it resulted in a fumble and eventually the game-clinching touchdown. Mangum's go-to guy, Mitch Mathews, caught four of eight passes for 20 yards. He had a tough day at the office by his standards.
4. Charles Harris is all over the damn place
You could see just how much Barry Odom trusts the sophomore from Kansas City yesterday. He finished the game with just a single tackle, though he had four of Mizzou's nine QB hurries. He had a lot of almosts in the backfield, but the trust was evident elsewhere. On at least two different occasions, BYU completed a pass where Harris had dropped into coverage on a zone blitz. There he was, Mizzou's best defensive lineman, trying to chase a receiver down 20+ yards away from the line of scrimmage.
Granted, he didn't catch the given receiver, and for all I know, it was his man who caught the ball. But again, this was about trust. He's reached the point where Odom and company trust him enough to use in 78 different ways.
5. A season can beat you down
Not going to lie: I was celebrating a one-man pity party in the first half (and early second). "Of course Mizzou didn't recover that early muffed punt." "Of course Mizzou would get six points from three scoring opportunities, and of course BYU would then take the lead." "Of course Terry Beckner Jr. would get hurt."
Power to the team for not experiencing the same thing. It had every opportunity to take the hint from the universe and fold. Instead, the Tigers went out and won the fourth quarter.
6. My top 10 players
1. Russell Hansbrough (26 carries, 117 yards)
2. Kentrell Brothers (8.0 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PBU, 1 FR)
3. Drew Lock (19-for-28, 244 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 3 carries, 26 yards)
4. Charles Harris (1.0 tackles, 4 QBH)
5. Ish Witter (15 touches, 91 yards)
6. J'Mon Moore (4 targets, 3 catches, 49 yards, 1 TD)
7. Marcell Frazier (2.0 tackles, 1 sack, 1 FF, 1 QBH)
8. Michael Scherer (6.0 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 FR, 1 QBH)
9. Nate Brown (9 targets, 5 catches, 65 yards)
10. Corey Fatony (3 punts, 43 average; one very, very well-timed 56-yarder)
Again, it probably speaks to standards that we felt like this was a pretty good rushing performance, and then we see that Hansbrough, Witter, and Tyler Hunt ended up with 49 carries for just 165 yards (3.4 per carry). But it was successful just enough for Mizzou to control the ball, keep the defense rested, and keep the pressure off of Lock.
Meanwhile ... again, standards, but it almost felt like a letdown performance from Brothers ... and he still ended up with a TFL, a fumble recovery, the most tackles on the team, and a TD-saving pass break-up.
7. I could watch this a million times
Whoever replaces Pinkel, the bar is almost unattainably high in the "players' love for their coach" department.
Ian Simon on the win. "To quote Coach Pinkel, it was mammoth."— Andrew Kauffman (@A_Kauff) November 15, 2015