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Drew Lock and Playing Up to the Competition

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Mizzou’s senior QB would be a surefire College Football Hall of Famer ... were all his games against Eastern Michigan

NCAA Football: Missouri at Purdue
Yes, Drew Lock, one thing can fully cement your legacy in the annals of Missouri football: winning against winning teams.
Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

(A bit of a disclaimer before we begin: Pete kind of stole my thunder a little bit on this one. Guess we should’ve been spending less time talking about monkey paws during The Zoukeepers and more time coordinating coverage. I’m going to soldier on anyway, though ... it’s the only way I know how to be ... )

Drew Lock has (in all likelihood) nine games left in his Missouri career.

With about 82 percent of his time with the Tigers over and done with, he stands only 20 touchdowns and 2,538 yards away from besting Chase Daniel’s Missouri career records.

Both very achievable.

He will probably be a first-round draft pick, and he will go down as one of the top two or three quarterbacks in the history of Missouri football.

While we’re talking about legacies, though, here are a couple of other stats he can use these final nine games to work on:

-37.3: percent career difference in passer rating in starts against non-Power 5 (185.51) and Power 5 (116.31) teams.
60.6: percent of his total touchdowns in starts against FBS teams that came against teams that ended up with non-winning records (43 of 71) in only 35.3 percent of his total starts against FBS teams (12 of 34).
5.26: career win percentage as a starter against Power-5 teams that ended up with winning records (1-18).

Yes, count on one finger the number of Power-5 teams who ended up with a winning record that Missouri has beaten in Lock starts: 2016 Arkansas.

Count on three fingers the number of total FBS teams who ended up with a winning record that the Tigers have beaten: 2016 Arkansas, 2015 BYU, 2015 Eastern Michigan.

Lock still has a chance to improve on those numbers if Missouri can beat teams like South Carolina, Alabama (lolz) Kentucky, (possibly) Memphis, Florida and a bowl opponent on its schedule — and, since I’m counting 2018 Purdue and Wyoming as “non-winning teams” ... since that’s what they are right now ... — but sitting here today, knowing what we know, we know this:

Missouri has had issues winning the big ones during Lock’s career as a starter.

Two reasons why that might not be an entirely fair accusation to levy, though.

One, the team around him has struggled more consistently than any Tigers team has since Gary Pinkel’s early days, and that’s about 4.5 percent (1/22nd...get it?) Lock’s fault, at most.

Two ... I mean, duh. Doesn’t any quarterback put up worse individual numbers and a poorer win percentage when the competition steps up? Is Lock really that far out of the ordinary when it comes to the other Missouri quarterbacks of recent vintage?

Let’s find out.

I took Lock, Maty Mauk, James Franklin, Blaine Gabbert and Chase Daniel and sliced up their stats as starters against FBS/FCS teams, winning/losing FBS teams, Power 5/non-Power 5 teams, and winning/losing Power 5 teams to see how much of a dropoff we should expect as the competition ramps up.

So let’s see, shall we?

FBS vs. FCS

% Yards per Game Change from FCS to FBS
Mauk: 17.5
Daniel: 15.2
Gabbert: 9.79
Franklin: 5.64
Lock: -35.3

% TD per Game Change from FCS to FBS
Franklin: -5.10
Mauk: -20.0
Gabbert: -28.3
Daniel: -29.7
Lock: -60.8

% Rating Change from FCS to FBS
Franklin: -18.6
Gabbert: -23.7
Daniel: -25.1
Mauk: -25.7
Lock: -43.7

% Win Pct. Change from FCS to FBS
Mauk: -25.0
Daniel: -28.9
Gabbert: -33.3
Franklin: -39.3
Lock: -61.8

——-

FBS Winning vs. Non-Winning

% Yards per Game Change from Non-Winning to Winning
Gabbert: -7.74
Daniel: -10.4
Mauk: -16.5
Franklin: -23.5
Lock: -26.2

% TD per Game Change from Non-Winning to Winning
Mauk: -9.80
Gabbert: -15.6
Daniel: -30.2
Franklin: -43.5
Lock: -64.5

% Rating Change from Non-Winning to Winning
Daniel: -3.36
Mauk: -11.8
Gabbert: -14.0
Franklin: -14.4
Lock: -32.8

% Win Pct. Change from Non-Winning to Winning
Mauk: 0.00
Gabbert: -35.7
Franklin: -38.9
Daniel: -41.8
Lock: -83.6

——-

Power 5 vs. Non-Power 5

% Yards per Game Change from Non-Power 5 to Power 5
Franklin: 9.09
Gabbert: -0.17
Mauk: -1.88
Daniel: -11.3
Lock: -40.4

% TD per Game Change from Non-Power 5 to Power 5
Franklin: 12.5
Daniel: -9.09
Gabbert: -13.2
Mauk: -53.6
Lock: -58.0

% Rating Change from Non-Power 5 to Power 5
Gabbert: -4.01
Daniel: -6.53
Franklin: -6.92
Mauk: -15.3
Lock: -37.3

% Win Pct. Change from Non-Power 5 to Power 5
Gabbert: -21.1
Mauk: -31.3
Daniel: -33.3
Franklin: -45.8
Lock: -65.7

——-

Winning Power 5 vs. Non-Winning Power 5

% Yards per Game Change from Non-Winning to Winning Power 5
Gabbert: -8.98
Daniel: -15.5
Lock: -23.1
Mauk: -26.1
Franklin: -29.1

% TD per Game Change from Non-Winning to Winning Power 5
Gabbert: -22.7
Daniel: -36.1
Franklin: -47.6
Mauk: -51.4
Lock: -64.9

% Rating Change from Non-Winning to Winning Power 5
Daniel: -9.67
Gabbert: -17.0
Franklin: -19.7
Mauk: -21.2
Lock: -30.8

% Win Pct. Change from Non-Winning to Winning Power 5
Mauk: -6.67
Franklin: -46.7
Gabbert: -48.1
Daniel: -49.0
Lock: -93.2

——-

So what’s wrong with this picture? Across all the level splices, across all the main statistical categories, across 16 metrics in total, Lock has experienced the steepest dropoff from lower- to higher-quality opponents of any of the Tigers’ previous five starting quarterbacks in all but one category: yards per game from non-winning Power-5 opponents to winning ones.

Even then, his yards per game drop 23.1 percent, but that’s better than Mauk (26.1) and Franklin (29.1).

And those are kind of empty calories: his touchdowns per game are down 64.9 percent from non-winning to winning (1.05 from 3.00) and rank in total behind Daniel (2.05), Franklin (1.83), Gabbert (1.55) and Mauk (1.15).

Here’s a mitigating factor to all those bad metrics: the Lock of today is a completely different player than the overwhelmed Lock of 2015. What would those dropoff percentages look like if we factored out his eight starts from his true freshman year?

Glad you asked: He’s still last in every single category except the one we mentioned above, and he adds a slight edge over Mauk in touchdown per game percent dropoff from non-winning to winning Power 5 (-50.0 percent to -51.4).

Here’s another thing you might say to poke holes in the argument: so what? So, if Lock puts up huge numbers against inferior competition (which he has...I mean, freaking huge), then he’s rationally going to have further to fall than the others and still wind up at the same place.

Let’s test that. Let’s look at the bulk stats of Late-Model Lock (2016-18) against his other four contemporaries in the most important category of all: stats versus winning Power-5 teams.

Yards per Game
Daniel: 293.9
Gabbert: 268.2
Franklin: 251.8
Lock: 246.5
Mauk: 194.6

TD per Game
Daniel: 2.05
Franklin: 1.83
Lock: 1.57
Gabbert: 1.55
Mauk: 1.11

Rating
Daniel: 140.36
Franklin: 124.88
Gabbert: 120.55
Lock: 114.25
Mauk: 103.48

Win %
Mauk: 66.7 (6-3)
Daniel: 47.4 (9-10)
Gabbert: 45.5 (5-6)
Franklin: 44.4 (8-10)
Lock: 7.14 (1-13)

That’s a little better, right? That win percentage, though...and he’s 1-18 against winning Power-5 teams if we do factor in his freshman year.

(Sidenote: I was rather shocked to see Daniel come away with a losing record against winning power-conference teams. Only Mauk escaped above water out of the past five.)

Let’s say, best-case scenario, Missouri beats all those teams we talked about above (again...Alabama...LOL) and Purdue ends up being a winning team as well. That’s an 8-18 end to Lock’s career against winning Power-5 teams, and 8-13 as Late-Model Lock.

More better, more in line with what the rest of Missouri’s recent quarterbacks are done.

Which is, if I may circle back to the beginning of the post, why these final nine games are so crucial for Lock’s legacy at Missouri.

Breaking Daniel’s records is very impressive. Breaking them while going, like, 1-24 against winning power-conference teams tarnishes it ever so slightly.

Check out the work on Lock — late-model and full-career — against Mauk, Franklin, Gabbert and Daniel below.