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The 10 Best Games of Drew Lock’s Career

Ranked subjectively, with as little analysis as possible.

Arkansas v Missouri
As Drew Lock comes up on his 46th — and final — start as Missouri’s quarterback, let’s look back on his 10 best.
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Hello, RockM friends!

As a late Christmas/early New Year's present, I’ve decided to do a post that is short on dense, confusing numbers and long on subjective, gut-level analysis.

I’m talking the 10 best games of Drew Lock’s career in a Missouri Tigers uniform, ranked subjectively by me. And I figured, with Lock’s last collegiate game coming up Sunday, this would be the perfect time to do it.

I’m taking stats into account, yes, but also the competition and the relative importance of the game to whatever Missouri had going on at the moment.

So read on and enjoy, then go into the comments and argue about it.

10. Nov. 12, 2016: 26-17 win vs. Vanderbilt
Lock Line: 22-of-37 passing, 294 yards, 2 TD; 14 rush yards

This was the win that snapped a five-game losing streak in Barry Odom’s first season. Lock hit J’Mon Moore for an 82-yard touchdown strike in the second quarter to extend Missouri’s lead to the largest it would ever get (19-0) and then, when things started getting tight, he hit Moore again for a 4-yard score to make the final margin with 8:39 left in the game. Missouri was only 3-7 at the time and well out of bowl contention, but getting that first SEC win was a helpful step.

9. Nov. 23, 2018: 38-0 win vs. Arkansas
Lock Line: 16-of-25 passing, 221 yards, 2 TD; 12 rush yards, 2 TD

Call it recency bias, nostalgia or whatever you want, but Lock’s most recent start showed arguably his most complete command of the Derek Dooley offense to date. He didn’t waste many throws in inclement weather, was very efficient and even threw in a bit of flash toward the end of his blowout-shortened game, with a 67-yard touchdown sling to Emanuel Hall in the third quarter that matched his laser-guided, perfectly aimed touchdown toss to Hall that closed the first half. And he ran for two touchdowns. Did you know he played basketball in high school?

8. Nov. 14, 2015: 20-16 win vs. BYU (in Kansas City)
Lock Line: 19-of-28 passing, 244 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 26 rush yards

This checked a bunch of boxes. Sending Gary Pinkel, who recently announced his impending retirement, out with a nice parting gift? Check. Winning a game on the home field of the NFL team you grew up watching? Check. Making a Missouri offense that looked to lack a pulse actually show some life? Check. Keeping the Tigers’ bowl hopes alive? Check...although they were soon dashed. This was, by far, the most productive start of Lock’s rookie season and, while Russell Hansbrough was rushing for 100 yards, Lock was complementing that with a balanced distribution to Nate Brown, Moore (to whom he threw a touchdown) and Cam Hilton...back when he was a wideout.

7. Sept. 10, 2016: 61-21 win vs. Eastern Michigan
Lock Line: 24-of-37 passing, 450 yards, 5 TD; 1 rush yard

The first of a certain type of Lock game I’ll call “absolutely thrashing a lesser opponent.” The first win of the Odom era saw a career high for Ray Wingo (remember him? 125 yards) and the jumpstart of two careers of receivers who played huge roles this season: Johnathon Johnson (115 yards) and Emanuel Hall (90 yards). Lock peppered in touchdown passes of 36, 52 and 87 yards to his receivers, then went ahead and got #TightEndPassGame engaged as well with a 19-yard strike to Jason Reese and a 13-yarder to Kendall Blanton. There would be bigger numbers — and lesser opponents — to come, but this game set the trend of Lock absolutely shredding secondaries who weren’t up to the task in his final three years at Missouri.

6. Oct. 14, 2017: 53-28 loss at Georgia
Lock Line: 15-of-25 passing, 253 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT; 15 rush yards

Yeah, it’s a loss. And a pretty substantial one. But Lock threw four touchdowns against a decent pass defense — one that got to the national championship game — and figured out something pretty important for himself: I can just chuck it deep to Hall and he will probably run under it. Hall caught four passes for 141 yards and two matching touchdowns of 63 yards as the Tigers’ pass offense salvaged something positive out of an otherwise non-notable loss.

5. Sept. 15, 2018: 40-37 win at Purdue
Lock Line: 26-of-43 passing, 375 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT

In a win that ended up looking much better...than worse...then better...then worse...then it seemed at the time, Lock made only one typical 2016 mistake — the overthrow pick that led to Purdue’s game-tying drive — among a fairly comprehensive shredding of the Boilermakers defense, even with a hobbled Hall. Jalen Knox stepped up with 110 yards and a score on five catches, and Lock somehow freestyled and found Tyler Badie for a 20-yard gain to keep the game-winning drive alive, then hit Hall for 25 more into the red zone to set up Tucker McCann’s game-winning field goal. Then he conducted the band and rubbed the win in on Purdue’s home field as the fans jeered him like a wrestling heel. Classic Lock swagger.

4. Oct. 21, 2017: 68-21 win vs. Idaho
Lock Line: 23-of-33 passing, 467 yards, 6 TD, 1 INT

The Madden game of Madden games. Idaho had given up six pass touchdowns all season, so Lock went ahead and decided to hang six on them himself. The most touchdown passes against an FBS opponent in Missouri history — although Idaho was soon to be non-FBS...but I digress... — went to Moore, Hall, Floyd and Albert Okwuegbunam...three times, which you know I loved. The Idaho result was never going to be in doubt but coming when it did — breaking a five-game losing streak — gave the Tigers considerable momentum to launch into the easier second half of their schedule and into a bowl game in Odom’s second year.

3. Oct. 3, 2015: 24-10 win vs. South Carolina
Lock Line: 21-of-28 passing, 136 yards, 2 TD

There was a lot going against Lock going into his first collegiate start. The Tigers were coming off their first loss of the season, at Kentucky, and the little-used Lock had just been thrust into the starting role thanks to a suspension to Maty Mauk...which would end up being career-ending. But Lock executed a safe passing plan from Josh Henson and hit Brown for two scores, and the defense bowed up to deliver one struggling team a win over another one. Pinkel had a quiet word with Lock after the game and told him he was going to be a good one. There would be many trials and tribulations before Lock started looking like it, but Pinkel was right.

2. Nov. 25, 2016: 28-24 win vs. Arkansas
Lock Line: 16-of-26 passing, 268 yards, 2 TD

A comeback in the Battle Line Rivalry that, until the Florida game this year, served as Lock’s only win against a winning Power-5 opponent. And yes, the jury is still out on Purdue and Vanderbilt (both 6-6) this year. Moore had a huge game, with 135 yards on six catches, and Johnson’s 67-yard pass from Lock with 2:07 to go in the third quarter brought the Tigers within one score after being down 24-7. Then, on the eventual game-winning drive — capped off by Nate Strong...remember him? — Lock hit Moore for 49 yards down into the red zone. A thrilling, program-turning win, engineered by a rising quarterback star.

1. Nov. 3, 2018: 38-17 win at Florida
Lock Line: 24-of-32 passing, 250 yards, 3 TD; 19 rush yards

The one that answered the question: can Lock...and by extension Odom...and by extension Missouri...ever beat a good team? With his 250 passing yards and scoring strikes to Hall, Okwuegbunam and Kam Scott, Lock answered definitively to the affirmative. The fact that this win came in The Swamp against a Florida team that’s played well enough the rest of the year to be ranked in the top 10 of the College Football Playoff and that the outcome was never really in doubt makes this all the more impressive. There will still be warranted questions and “yeah, buts” about Lock’s Missouri legacy, but he can now say that he won a “big one” to go along with all those eye-popping career statistics.