Three Drew Lock touchdowns, a Terez Hall interception and sack, a Terry Beckner Jr. stop and an Emanuel Hall score — all within the first half.
Missouri’s seniors played exceptionally well in Friday’s 38-0 shellacking over Arkansas. While the 38 points are impressive, this was the Tigers’ first shutout over an FBS opponent since Blaine Gabbert led them to a 14-0 victory over Iowa State on Nov. 20, 2010.
In a day where John Elway and Jerry Jones were in attendance, possibly in search of a franchise quarterback, rainy weather looked like it would pose problems for Lock to show the impact he can make with his arm at the next level.
But it’s OK — because Lock is a dual-threat quarterback, right?
The four-year starter took a pair of read options on Missouri’s first and fourth drives to the house, giving the Tigers an early 14-0 lead.
Those that pay close attention to Lock’s play know he’s more than just your tall, big-armed, stereotypical quarterback. He’s sneaky mobile and has no problem taking the ball on a designed run. Don’t let that distract you from the fact that he also had an efficient day throwing the football, though. Lock completed 16-of-25 passes for 221 yards and a pair of touchdowns through the air to add to his solid day running the ball.
The Missouri quarterback rushed for six touchdowns (more than Georgia running back D’Andre Swift as of the end of Friday’s game) in his senior campaign to pair with his 2,904 yards, 23 passing touchdowns (with just 8 interceptions) and an efficient 63.1 percent completion percentage. With that, he ended his career with 11,820 passing yards (2nd all time in SEC) and 96 touchdowns (3rd all time in SEC).
While Lock’s record-setting 44-touchdown in 2017 may very well end up defining his career in Columbia, he’s continuously stressed that personal accolades aren’t what he’s all about.
He came to Missouri over offers from big-time schools like Michigan to make Missouri football relevant — to win with the school he grew up rooting for.
And sure, the Tigers aren’t quite at the level they were in 2013 and 2014 when Lock was in high school, but he’s helped establish a winning culture with the younger players.
And sure, those losses to Kentucky and South Carolina earlier this season were tough pills to swallow this year. But if most fans were told before the season started that Missouri would win 8 games and have a chance to secure a ninth with a victory in a bowl game, they’d surely be pleased.
While Lock is far-and-away the most-talked-about senior on this Missouri team, one can’t forget about the play of Emanuel Hall, Terez Hall or Beckner.
A groin injury sidelined Missouri’s top receiver in Emanuel Hall for four games (five if you include his limited ability in the Georgia game), but he didn’t skip a beat once he returned in the Tigers’ 38-17 upset win over then-No. 11 Florida in Gainesville where he totaled 77 yards and a touchdown. He’s since continued to play well, showing people that injury won’t slow him down from his two 171-yard performances to start 2018.
Hall had by far the biggest conference game of his career against Arkansas Friday, hauling in six passes for 153 yards, finding the end zone twice.
Missouri’s other Hall, outside linebacker Terez Hall, made some big-time plays to help the Tigers jump out to a big lead over Arkansas. With less than a minute remaining in the first quarter and Missouri up just seven points, Hall read the eyes of the Razorbacks’ quarterback, Ty Storey, and nabbed an interception to help the Tigers start a drive well into opposing territory.
He didn’t stop there, though. With just over five minutes left in the first half and his team holding onto a 21-point lead, Arkansas was driving into Missouri territory and was faced with a fourth-and-five situation. Hall got penetration immediately after the snap and brought down the Razorbacks quarterback deep in the backfield for a turnover on downs.
Whatever momentum Arkansas was building up at that point was killed.
Another stopper on an impressive Missouri defense Friday was the Tigers’ star defensive tackle in Beckner. It was rumored the Cowboys’ owner, Jones, was there to take a look at the former-No. 2 overall prospect out of high school.
The four of them, as well as senior punter Corey Fatony and senior offensive lineman Paul Adams, are all NFL prospects in their own right. Whether it’s as a dynamic thrower in Lock, terrifying pass-rushers in Beckner and Terez Hall, a scary downfield threat in Emanuel Hall, the nation’s most interesting yet talented punter in Fatony or a reliable and dominant offensive lineman in Adams, Missouri’s senior class will surely make an impact somewhere at the next level.
Luckily for Missouri fans, they have one more game of Lock, Beckner, the Hall’s and the rest of the senior class. We’ll see in the coming weeks as to where that’ll take place.