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With Drew and a defense, Mizzou’s ceiling looks a lot higher

After a thorough dismantling of Wyoming, how does Missouri’s outlook change?

Wyoming v Missouri Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Missouri led 3-0 midway through the second quarter against Wyoming, but something felt different.

It didn’t have the recent exasperation of “Here we go again.” Instead, it just felt like a matter of time until Missouri found its rhythm and took over.

A 9-play, 97-yard drive by Drew Lock and the offense, punctuated by a 13-yard touchdown run by Lock did just that. It started a run of five consecutive touchdown scoring drives and six consecutive scoring drives.

What’s different?

i don’t know for sure if this team is markedly different than the last few years. Missouri may fall flat against Purdue. It may get steamrolled by Georgia (which looked pretty dang good in its domination of South Carolina) and then Alabama (which just seems unfair through two games). But right now, what feels different is this:

Drew Lock and the defense just seem so much steadier than the last few years.

Let’s start with Lock, and before we start, let me add the caveat that this is just an observation.

But, man. Lock seems so damn settled out there. He’s calm and confident in the pocket. He’s scanning the field. He’s taking smart chances down the field; against Wyoming, he forced a few throws, but really, the closest he came to an interception was the 28-yard touchdown pass to Emanuel Hall.

Through two games, Lock is 52 of 70 for 687 yards, 8 touchdowns and no interceptions. Against Wyoming, he went 33 of 45 for 398 yards and five total touchdowns.

He also did this.

Like Lock, the defense through two games seems just as steady. Let’s get the “Well, the level of competition” caveat out of the way. Yes, that matters. But this is still a night-and-day difference from the first half of last season.

It’s also important to note that the biggest plays surrendered — the 51-yard touchdown to UT-Martin and two Wyoming passes that totaled 83 yards — came later in the game with the outcome not in much doubt. Take out those three plays (which we can’t, but I’m going to anyway), and Missouri’s defense has given up 386 yards in two games.

A lot of “Yeah, buts” in this argument, but again, they are my observations, dammit. They’re real to me.

We’ll know more after Purdue — fresh off an embarrassing home loss to Eastern Michigan — but, man.

It just feels different this year. Besides Georgia and Alabama, Missouri’s schedule has suddenly opened up a bit (Florida looks like a pretender, like I’ve been shouting to nobody all summer).

With Drew and the D, suddenly eight wins seems like the low end.

The ceiling is rising.