After three years, Drew Lock finally appears to be fulfilling all the fever dreams that Missouri fans the world over had when he took preseason camp by storm in 2015.
“Locktober” was always an awesome name. Now, its namesake is living up to it.
In the month of October, the Tigers’ junior quarterback completed 66.4 percent of his passes for 363 yards a game, 10.6 yards an attempt, an 18:2 TD:INT ratio and a QB rating of 195.89.
In a word: baller.
Yes, Idaho and Connecticut are bad defenses. Yes, Kentucky is actually a bad defense as well. But Georgia is a good defense, and Lock threw for 253 yards and four scores against the Bulldogs.
Plus, just look at those numbers again. Those numbers against air would be pretty impressive.
Now comes the tricky part. Because, yes, collectively, Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Arkansas are a more fearsome foursome than Connecticut, Idaho, Kentucky and Georgia.
So how do we go about predicting how strong Lock will end the season? How likely is it that Locktober becomes Lockvember?
Here’s how I’m going to try.
First, I’m going to take the pass defense averages for the Tigers’ first seven FBS opponents against other FBS teams not named Missouri this year. Then, I’m going to see how much better or worse Lock’s performances against those teams are than the average other FBS team.
Then I’m going to take the averages for the Tigers’ final four opponents and apply those Lock differences to come to a projection.
And here’s what I get:
Drew Lock Overall FBS Model Projection
On the whole, against the 18 FBS teams Lock has played in the past two years, here is how he has fared, when compared to those 18 teams’ other FBS opponents:
Drew Lock Performance vs. FBS Norm
Final 4 Games: 60-of-115 (52.2 %), 971 yards (8.44 avg.), 8 TD, 3 INT, 140.84 rating
Season Totals: 221-of-385 (57.4%), 3538 yards (9.19 avg.), 36 TD, 11 INT, 159.74 rating
But that’s not good enough for me. And it shouldn’t be good enough for you, either. Have some pride, man.
What if we split up the 18 FBS teams Lock has faced, then split them up into a top and bottom half based on a combined national pass defense ranking (yards allowed per game rank plus yards per play rank plus rating against rank), then saw how Lock fared against the top and bottom half and predicted the rest of the season based on that?
Drew Lock Halved FBS Model
(An interesting note: when we do it that way, only two of the top nine teams — Georgia and Auburn -- come from this year’s schedule. So it would appear that Lock is passing against worse pass defenses, on the whole, this year than last year.)
Top Half: 2017 Georgia, 2016 Florida, 2017 Auburn, 2016 LSU, 2016 Georgia, 2016 South Carolina, 2016 Tennessee, 2016 Middle Tennessee, 2016 West Virginia
Bottom Half: 2016 Kentucky, 2017 South Carolina, 2016 Vanderbilt, 2016 Arkansas, 2017 Purdue, 2016 Eastern Michigan, 2017 Kentucky, 2017 Idaho, 2017 Connecticut
(Notice, too, that three of the four pass defenses that Lock faced in October — Kentucky, Idaho and Connecticut — were the three worst he has faced in 18 starts against FBS teams. The average FBS non-Missouri line against those three looks like this in 2017: 23-of-35, 65.7%, 282 yards, 8.06 avg., 2 TD, INT, 146.54 rating)
Drew Lock Performance vs. FBS Norm (Halved)
(In this model, Tennessee and Vanderbilt are top-half pass defenses and Florida and Arkansas are bottom-half.)
Final 4 Games: 60-of-115 (52.2 %), 977 yards (8.50 avg.), 8 TD, 3 INT, 141.28 rating
Season Totals: 221-of-385 (57.4%), 3544 yards (9.21 avg.), 36 TD, 11 INT, 159.87 rating
Oh, but that’s still not good enough for me. Since Missouri has only Power-5 teams left, let’s break it down further to the 14 Power-5 teams that the Tigers have faced over the past two years, with how their pass defenses have fared against other Power-5 teams.
First, the overall model:
Drew Lock Overall Power-5 Projection Model
Drew Lock Performance vs. Power-5 Norm
Final 4 Games: 60-of-118 (50.8 %), 923 yards (7.82 avg.), 6 TD, 4 INT, 126.55 rating
Season Totals: 221-of-388 (57.0%), 3490 yards (8.99 avg.), 34 TD, 12 INT, 155.25 rating
Now, the Drew Lock Halved Power-5 Model, with these top and bottom halves.
Top Half: 2017 Georgia, 2016 Florida, 2017 Auburn, 2016 LSU, 2016 Georgia, 2016 South Carolina, 2016 Tennessee
Bottom Half: 2016 West Virginia, 2016 Kentucky, 2017 South Carolina, 2016 Vanderbilt, 2016 Arkansas, 2017 Purdue, 2017 Kentucky
Drew Lock Performance vs. Power-5 Norm (Halved)
Final 4 Games: 60-of-118 (50.8 %), 931 yards (7.89 avg.), 6 TD, 3 INT, 128.82 rating
Season Totals: 221-of-388 (57.0%), 3498 yards (9.02 avg.), 34 TD, 11 INT, 155.94 rating
OK, OK, OK. But what if Lock continues this hot streak from Locktober and keeps blowing teams out of the water?
That’s the question we attempt to answer with out most optimistic timeline, which we’ll call the Locktober Forever.
In this one, we’ll take how much Lock outperformed the past four opponents’ averages against other FBS teams this year and apply it to what the final four teams are giving up.
And we get...
Locktober Forever Performance
Final 4 Games: 63-of-106 (59.4%), 1141 yards (10.8 avg.), 13 TD, 2 INT, 186.55 rating
Season Totals: 224-of-376 (59.6%), 3708 yards (9.86 avg.), 41 TD, 10 INT, 173.08 rating
Alright. You’ve almost made it to the end. Congratulations. You’re a champion.
But, if you’ve read my preseason Drew Lock projection stories, you’d know that we have to come up with a unified theory of Drew Lock.
So let’s slam together all five of the stat lines I’ve posited throughout the piece for a final conclusion:
Final 4 Games: 61-of-114 (53.5%), 989 yards (8.68 avg.), 8 TD, 3 INT, 144.28 rating
Season Totals: 222-of-384 (57.8%), 3556 yards (9.26 avg.), 36 TD, 11 INT, 160.81 rating
That total would put Lock fourth on the Tigers’ all-time, single-season passing yards list, second on the single-season passing touchdown list and first on the single-season passer rating list.
And he might even get to pad some of those stats in a bowl, if the Tigers play their cards right...
If you’re into this sort of thing, you can check my work as well: