These posts are always the most fun to put together after a win like Thursday’s.
In case you’re new to these parts, let me refresh you on our weekly MV3 feature. Inspired by the Pujols-Rolen-Edmonds trifecta of the early-mid aughts St. Louis Cardinal teams, every week our staff submits a ballot of the three most valuable and important players who contributed to Missouri’s outcome — win or loss. Sometimes, in weeks like this one, there is no shortage of praise to spread around the roster. Some weeks, Harrison Mevis gets every vote and the rest of the spots are left blank.
For opening week 2022, however, we had a bountiful plate from which to choose. Would our writers lavish praise on Luther Burden, Missouri’s newly minted star boy? Would Brady Cook, the local hero turned QB1, get his flowers? Or would Dominic Lovett, who led Missouri in all-purpose yards, get some love?
1. Ty’Ron Hopper
Luther Burden got the love. Nathaniel Peat shone near the end. Brady Cook earned his first start with a near pitch-perfect performance. But it was the defense that really starred against Louisiana Tech — aside from a few moments of broken coverage, that is.
Ty’Ron Hopper, the prized transfer from Florida, set the tone for the harder, better, faster, stronger Mizzou defense. Leading the team with six tackles while notching two TFLs, an interception and a sack, Hopper epitomized the nature of Blake Baker’s revamped defense: lean, mean and versatile. Hopper was one of our most anticipated additions to this roster, and it already feels like he’ll be a focal point of our praise all year.
2. Luther Burden
You knew he’d have to be on here, even if his minimal yardage output meant that he didn’t get the top spot. But the impact he had was inescapable, nay incomprehensible. Not since Jeremy Maclin has Missouri had a player this purely talented at first glance. Every time Burden touched the ball, you knew something special was going to happen. And almost every time, something did. Burden turned nothing-burger screens into 10-plus yard gains and poorly thrown balls into dazzling displays of strength and world-class shiftiness.
It still doesn’t feel real that we’re going to get to watch him play football in a Missouri uniform. I pray I never take it for granted.
3. Nathaniel Peat
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the Week One depth chart was the fact that Nathaniel Peat hadn’t separated himself as the RB-1. Cody Schrader was the feel good story, but lacked the Power Five experience. Elijah Young is as tantalizing a playmaker as anyone on the roster — save Burden, of course — but hasn’t logged the reps to be the out-and-out feature back. Peat, on the other hand, had multiple years of experience at Stanford and an exciting blend of size and speed that made him a natural fit in Eli Drinkwitz’s offense.
Injuries have derailed the first part of his Tiger career, so much so that Schrader and Young got the majority of early game reps. But Peat came on strong in the second half, cementing his claim to the top back role with by engaging Mach 10 on the way to a 34-yard score. If he’s not first on the depth chart this week, it’ll be pure gamesmanship from Eli Drinkwitz.
Others receiving votes: Jaylon Carlies, Joseph Charleston, Brady Cook, Dominic Lovett, Martez Manuel
Now it’s your turn! Tell us who your MV3 are in the comments or on Twitter!