As Drew Lock took a read option to the right side of the field Monday, falling just short of the first down marker, the Missouri quarterback sunk his head in disappointment and made his way off the field for the last time as a Tiger.
That play will surely stick out most in people’s minds when thinking of Lock’s final game donning the black and gold — a tough way to say goodbye to a guy who’s given his all during his four-years at Missouri.
Monday’s 38-33 Liberty Bowl loss will leave fans angry, confused, sad and in the end, not very surprised; Tiger fans are used to these painful losses by now.
But instead of focusing on the negatives and what-ifs, it’s time Missouri fans forget about that and say thank you to a transcending quarterback who helped turn a 4-8 cellar-of-the-SEC team into a 23rd-ranked program that just beat a potential-top-10 Florida team on the road by 21, landed Kelly Bryant and its best recruiting class in years, and has a fanbase excited for their team’s future.
So thank you, Drew Lock.
Thank you for coming to Columbia even though Jim Harbaugh said you’d never make the NFL if you came here. Yet here you are, a projected-first-round draft pick.
Thank you for unexpectedly stepping up your freshman year following Maty Mauk’s dismissal from the program and staying here after Gary Pinkel medically retired.
Thank you for never giving up on this team, this fanbase and this school after a brutal 4-8 sophomore season. You were criticized heavily, but believed in yourself and this program enough to keep on keeping on.
Thank you for putting Missouri football back on the map your junior year by throwing 44 touchdowns and winning the final six games of the season, turning a 1-5 start into a Texas Bowl berth. You gave Tiger fans hope during a season that started off with so much pessimism.
Thank you for your unquestioned leadership all these years. Without that, who knows if Missouri goes into Gainesville after that brutal loss to Kentucky this year and blows out a top-ranked Florida team by 21, giving yourself and your coach that coveted victory over a ranked opponent — the Tigers’ first one since 2014-15.
And last but not least, thank you for encompassing everything the University of Missouri is about: Respect, Responsibility, Discovery and Excellence. Both on and off the field, Tiger fans will be proud saying, “That’s our quarterback.”
And that’s what you’ll always be. No matter what city you end up playing in following your college career, you will always be a true son and a Missouri Tiger.
So once again: Thank you, Drew.