Even though it ended in a loss, I believe this was far and away Brady Cook’s best game of the season. His biggest task every week is avoiding turnovers and he did a good job doing that this week. The other pieces of his game were pretty good too.
On the Ground
Cook had his best game of the year on the ground, racking up 106 yards on 16 carries. There were a few nice designed runs, but also hehad some really nice scrambles to keep drives alive. His ability to be a threat on the ground helps the Missouri offense keep defenses accountable when they’re in man coverage.
For example, here’s Cook on a key 2nd and 10. This scramble after the pocket breaks down is such a crucial pickup because it allows Missouri to keep the situation on third down manageable.
Here’s a nice designed run off of a jet motion. The jet motion draws the eyes of two Volunteer defenders who follow it and it open up a hole for Cook to find a first down. Runs using misdirection like this really make it difficult for a defense to get comfortable.
Through the Air
In addition to his day on the ground, I thought Brady Cook was pretty solid through the air. He made a few nice throws at different levels of the field and distributed the ball pretty effectively. To be fair, he wasn’t being asked to do too much, but he did his job when he was called upon.
On probably his best throw of the day (maybe the season?) on a key fourth down, Missouri takes a chance on a fourth down while being down two touchdowns and really has to convert or this game had a chance of getting out of hand earlier than it ultimately did. Nonetheless, with pressure in his face and a throw needing to be made, Cook puts the ball up where Dove can get it and he does the rest.
Or here, in the third quarter, after Dominic Lovett wins the outside leverage against the defender and has a step on him, Cook hits him in stride for an easy touchdown. These throws are there an awful lot, but it’s about Cook making the throw. To his credit, this week he did.
The Sad Part
Cook played his best game this past week and it did not matter one bit due to the outcome. The best game for a Brady Cook-led offense led to just 24 points being scored by the Missouri Tigers and that just isn’t good enough. It’d be unfair to put it all at the feet of one person, as the entire offense is responsible. However, at the most important position on the field though he has an outsized affect on the team for good or for bad and if your best games don’t really move the needle, it makes me wonder what are we even doing here?