Missouri’s defensive front almost completely shut down Florida’s run game in the Tigers’ 45-16 trouncing of the Gators, but you could argue that the most important Tiger defender was in the back: With a fumble recovery, an interception, a goal line stuff, and a couple of sure tackles that prevented big plays, Anthony Sherrils had either his best or second-best game in the black and gold.
Sherrils, in the second quarter, intercepted a Florida pass near the Gators’ 36-yard line, which led to another score. And on first-and-goal during Florida’s opening second-half drive, he saved a score with a big hit on running back Lamichal Perine. The Gators would eventually settle for a field goal.
If this wasn’t the safety’s best game at Mizzou — 2.5 tackles for a loss against Mississippi State in 2015 might top it — it was certainly the most meaningful, Sherrils said. He senses his college career ending soon, and he had to miss Missouri’s road losses at Kentucky and Georgia with a concussion. This was his third game back, and he was key for a Mizzou team that came into this game tied for 122nd in the country in turnover margin (-10).
“Him not being out on the field with us and his guys, you know, it was eating him up on the inside,” said wide receiver J’Mon Moore, one of Sherrils’ closest friends on the team.
Missouri doesn’t have many senior starters — at the moment, just two on offense (Ish Witter and J’Mon Moore) and four on defense (Marcell Frazier, A.J. Logan, Jordan Harold, and Sherrils) — but they’re coming up big as they reach what could be the final month of their respective careers.
And with the Tigers creeping back toward bowl eligibility, their own efforts could help spark a run that adds an extra month to their careers.
- Witter had 17 carries for 83 yards, plus a 15-yard touchdown catch
- Sherrils had 5.5 tackles, an INT, and a fumble recovery
- Moore had five catches for 64 yards and a touchdown
- Frazier had 2.5 tackles, a TFL, and a QB hurry
- Harold had a QB hurry
- Senior safety Anthony Hines had a huge special teams hit
(I’m not going to acknowledge reality and start thinking of Terry Beckner Jr. as a senior of sorts just yet, but he was also tremendous, obviously.)
When you make a late-season charge, it’s preferable for most of the contributions to come from underclassmen, a.k.a. guys who’ll be around to sustain the charge the next year. But Mizzou’s seniors turned a very good effort into a great one on Saturday.
More Football Links:
- Larry Rountree III’s mom drove overnight to see him play, and he rewarded her for it. (Another tidbit from this piece: a reminder that Mizzou was Rountree’s only P5 offer. His 247 profile listed a Boston College offer, but regardless, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again — for all this staff’s ongoing flaws, talent evaluation does not appear to be one of them.)
- Sherrils on #DLineZou: “Those guys up there are vicious.”
- Moore on the receiving corps’ midseason surge: "We saw our record; we didn't like it." Easy enough.
- To say the least, Drew Lock bounced back from that early pick.
- That muffed Florida punt was a hall of a spark.
- Mizzou’s offensive line had a great, great day.
- This was the biggest win of Barry Odom’s career (and not just because he only has eight of them to choose from).
- Norm Stewart sharing 50 years’ worth of memories with Vahe Gregorian? Yeah, you’re gonna want to read this.
- It was a bit on the chilly side, but Mizzou Wrestling indeed went through with its outdoor dual against No. 12 Illinois at the Mizzou Softball stadium on Saturday afternoon. Willie Miklus’ return was the most noteworthy result (he won a 3-1 decision) in a 20-17 Tiger win.
- Tremendous weekend for Mizzou Volleyball: the Tigers swept two teams ranked slightly ahead of them in RPI. First, defense drove a 25-23, 25-23, 25-19 win over Texas A&M on Friday (A&M had a paltry .115 hitting percentage), then Mizzou’s offense dominated in a 25-16, 28-26, 25-16 win over LSU (Mizzou hit .388). The wins will almost certainly move Mizzou’s RPI into the mid-30s, prime at-large territory. They also kept Mizzou safely in third place in the SEC at 9-3 (16-9 overall), two games behind second-place Kentucky and 1.5 games ahead of fourth-place LSU.
- Mizzou Swimming & Diving participated in the Saluki Invite in Carbondale, and both the men and women finished ahead of SIU but behind Kentucky.
- Mark your calendars, St. Louisans: Mizzou-Missouri State at Busch Stadium, April 3.