The last play that Missouri ran before Saturday was a 20-yard completion from Drew Lock to J’Mon Moore, who ended up fumbling the ball, effectively ending the game.
The first play of the Tigers’ record-setting 79-0 win against Delaware State, Lock went back to Moore. It bounced off his hands. The smaller crowd at Faurot Field groaned. It appeared that Moore hadn’t put the game-ending fumble behind him.
He quickly disproved that theory.
“That’s when I knew I was too comfortable,” Moore said. “That’s when I was like ‘alright, time to shake back.’”
Lock and Moore hooked up eight times in the first half for 114 yards; four of the connections resulted in touchdowns, tying Dorial Green-Beckham’ record-setting afternoon against Kentucky in 2013. The touchdowns came in a variety of fashions. Moore proved to be more athletic than his defender. He proved to be stronger than his defender. He proved to be quicker than his defender.
Moore twisted his body on the left side of the end zone for his first score. He was able to make a quick move, getting wide-open for another one. He appeared to be two yards short of the end zone, but he was able to bully his way past the goal line for six more points. He finished off his day with another acrobatic grab on the left side of the end zone.
His favorite was his first touchdown, where Lock put the ball where only his receiver can get it. Initially, it appeared that he wasn’t able to tap a foot in-bounds, but replay confirmed the tough catch.
“It was kind of hard. I felt like I really had to reach out for it, make sure my feet were down,” Moore said of his first touchdown.
The four scores were all accomplished in 20:30 of game time. Moore did not dress for the second half. He thinks he could have score eight, maybe nine times had he been allowed to play the rest of the game.
Moore said that he’d beat himself up after drops last year. He wouldn’t allow the first play of the game to dictate how he’d play the rest of the game, he’s also proving that he’s not allowing the fumble against Georgia to affect his game.
“Last year, I might have beat myself up too much about it and been mad the whole game,” Moore said. “But I let it go real fast.”
Barry Odom credited Moore for a strong start week of practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, but didn’t show his best on Thursday. But Odom is pleased that Moore’s maturity is becoming more and more apparent, and how he’s not allowing mistakes and miscues to inhibit progress moving forward.
“It doesn’t matter what the situation is, you go and practice and you practice the right way,” Odom. “It’s a boring process, I know.
“I’m glad he had success tonight and he rebounded. He has grown up. He’s more mature than he’s ever been.”
“He’s got some really good skills,” Odom added.
Moore sits atop the SEC for yards (438) and touchdowns (6). He’s doubled his touchdowns from last season and eclipsed his receiving yards (350).
It’s clear that the new energy and progression of Lock has helped Moore tremendously, but he’s clearly has taken the next step. The candid, hand-talking Moore with a confident smile returned for his post-game interviews
Moore isn’t a perfect, fully-developed receiver yet, but if it wasn’t confirmed last week it is now, he is clearly the No. 1 on a very potent offense.