“Sometimes you need a foe (you need a foe). One that keep your eyes open, keep you on your toes.”
I’ll be honest, I don’t think Florida would be that hard an out. I figured they wouldn’t roll over, but they certainly kept Mizzou on its toes. The Tigers aren’t sleeping anymore.
But they’re walking into Battle Line week feeling good about their chances at a 10th win. So we’re staying upbeat and rolling into Fayetteville feeling re-energized by the challenge.
*SPOILER WARNING FOR ANYONE WHO HASN’T YET WATCHED DAVID FINCHER’S THE KILLER*
I’m not the only one who noticed something the first time I watched The Killer on Netflix: the guy isn’t very good at his job!
Sure, he’s methodical and precise and doesn’t get caught. He has his routine that he strictly follows and eventually gets away with his own mistakes. But not before he makes a ton of mistakes that leave a trail of blood and viscera in his wake. I suppose one could argue it’s a statement on “the best-laid plans of mice and men” and all that, but I also think David Fincher was likely poking fun at his own persona, that of a methodical genius incapable of failure.
Not to say I’m comparing this year’s Mizzou team to David Fincher! Far from it. Instead, I think it’s an interesting comparison to look at how The Killer, a story about a hitman who bungles a job and somehow has to scramble his way out of trouble, might actually be telling the story of Mizzou vs. Florida. Early mistakes and screw-ups lead to Mizzou scrambling to take control before they eventually cede control and somehow, against the will of luck herself, find a way to scrape to safety.
Mizzou has always been a little too sloppy to be a picture of methodical brilliance, but the game against Florida really showed it. It was a sloppy, bloody mess, and one that left the Tigers scrambling more than once.
But, like The Killer and the killer, they somehow make it out alive! I can’t be sure how, but I have to assume it has something to do with the shared incompetence of the opponent? I think Florida probably played well enough to win that game, but come on. We have to admit that they kind of suck, right?
Any team with Mizzou on the ropes that leaves Luther Burden III this wide open deserves to lose. I don’t care what the expected win percentage of the game is. You’re telling me not one of Florida’s defenders can get within three yards of the one guy you can’t let beat you? Come on, now.
Things worked out in the end, and for that I’m grateful. It helps that Mizzou has its own killer patrolling the sidelines, one with a ham hock for a right leg.
We can look back at this as a picture of Mizzou’s resiliency and not them crapping the bed on senior night. Let’s hope, for all of our sakes, that the killer doesn’t miss next time.
★★★★☆ for the win, which was a little more stressful than I wanted but otherwise good, ★★★★☆ for The Killer, which was a little less stressful than I wanted but otherwise good
Games like this are hard to pin down. On one hand, Mizzou played below their normal standard of excellence. In fact, you could argue they played pretty poorly for a good portion of the game. Bad football, as we’re all aware, is not very watchable. Hell, mediocre football is barely watchable. So in one sense, this game was not all that fun!
But you get a lot of points for results. And you get even more for getting results at the last minute. You can contend that the Tigers were helped out by a Graham Mertz injury and the gaping holes in Florida’s defense toward the end, but a story is a story and Mizzou just told a damn good one. Luther Burden had to get open, Brady Cook had to find him, the Tigers had to keep driving downfield and Harrison Mevis had to hit the field goal. That’s still a lot of things that need to go right to snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat. So in this sense, the game was a lot of fun!
I’m inclined to give Mizzou a favorable score here because of the trust they’ve built with the fanbase for most of the year. Even the Mizery that’s been baked into my blood from years of North End Zone failures couldn’t tamp down a sense of optimism. When Mizzou got the ball left with a little more than a minute, I figured they would find a way to close it out.
That doesn’t mean the game was perfect — far from it! But I’ll take lower-quality barn burners than high-intensity shootouts any day of the week, so long as they end with Mizzou on the right side of the W/L column.
For sticking with a feisty Gator team, Mizzou gets 4/5 Crocodile Hunter compilation DVDs. A guaranteed good time if I say so myself!
Disrespectful Play Index
Generally speaking, I have an idea of what play I’ll be writing about for this section as soon as each game is over. While football is full of plays that make you double-take or raise an eyebrow, very few are worthy of the index.
Credit to Mizzou, though, there were quite a few plays I considered for this week’s DPI. Any time a TE hurdles someone, you have to give them props. And Brett Norfleet had about as clean a hurdle as I’ve ever seen on a football field.
I also want to make sure Harrison Mevis gets his flowers. While no one will mistake a 30-yard field goal for the most disrespectful play in the world, it always tickles me when Florida opponents do the Chomp. Is it the most original thing in the world? No, but it pisses off Floridians!
Congrats! Do the chomp since you couldn’t get into our school you unoriginal piece of shit— brush yo tongue (@msheldon810) November 19, 2023
Should be a 15-yard penalty— Jonathan Arnholz (@JArnholz) November 19, 2023
Loser behavior. But what do you expect from a team led by coach dork— Johnny Feetball (@JohnnyFeets) November 19, 2023
When Florida fans are unhappy, we’re happy!
But there’s one play that stood above the rest, one that combined skill, strength and disrespect in a special way.
As a reminder, here’s the grading scale we’re working with.
Category 1: How difficult/impressive was the play? (0-20)
Category 2: How hard did the defense try? (0-20)
Category 3: How much did his teammates help? (0-5)
Category 4: What did the player do immediately afterward? (0-20)
Category 5: How did everyone not involved react? (0-15)
Category 6: Is there a backstory/context to consider? (0-20)
And here’s the play in question!
Welcome back to the DPI, Luther Burden III!
- Category 1: How difficult/impressive was the play?
The catch itself is pretty cut-and-dry. After all, Burden is wide open in the middle of the field, a theme that would continue for most of the night (for whatever reason.) But if you go back and watch the play, you might notice that Brady Cook throws it a little off balance and with a hand in his face from a Florida lineman. That makes the delivery and the speed of the ball all the more impressive, even if it can’t quite match what came next. 18/20
- Category 2: How hard did the defense try?
OK, here’s where the fun starts.
On one hand, you have to give it to the Florida defender. He wasn’t in a position to stop Burden from catching the ball, but he was primed to deliver a big hit and, potentially, jar the ball loose from the unsuspecting receiver.
Except there’s one problem. This is Luther Burden III, and on top of being a damn good athlete, he’s an elite football player. Watch Burden take a peek at where the defender is situated before he comes down with this ball, slowly prepping himself to be hit.
He positions his body higher so that the defender’s angle is all messed up. Burden harmlessly bounces off the well-positioned defender, who deflates like a wet whoopie cushion onto the turf.
What makes this even better is that Burden is tracked down by yet another Florida defender, whom he proceeds to shove off like a Raggedy Andy doll. No. 34 ends up bringing him down on a shoestring tackle that Burden nearly broke for what would have been perhaps the first true 100 we’ve ever had on the Disrespectful Play Index.
Burden has become the colloquial YAC Monster/YAC God here at Rock M, but he’s never delivered a hurting like this before. Imagine him bulking up in the offseason and becoming Anquan Boldin levels of tough in the open field. My god, what a monster he would be. 20/20
- Category 3: How much did his teammates help?
I suppose you could say Brady did him a favor with a good throw, which would be truthful. But the YAC monster does what the YAC monster does, and he doesn’t need any help doing it. You won’t get any help when a defender hits you in mid-stride, so Burden should be given full individual marks for leaving one and nearly two defenders for dead. 5/5
- Category 4: What did the player do immediately afterward?
It was mid-drive, so Luther went with his stock flex-and-stare celebration. I’m OK with it as I’ve become used to seeing it, but I wish he’d be a little more creative after unloading on that one guy. 14/20
- Category 5: How did everyone not involved react?
Marquis Johnson has had a quiet few weeks after his fast start, so I suppose he felt obligated to get in the mix as the hype man. We all have our roles to play, and I suppose Johnson is embracing his! 8/15
- Category 6: Is there a backstory/context to consider?
Not much other than to say that the 158-yard performance was a return to dominance for Burden after a few weeks of up-and-down performance. The fact that he dropped a defender like a sack of onions on the field tells me he’s back to feeling like himself. And that’s a very comforting thing to see. 17/20
Luther Burden’s catch and run was 82 percent disrespectful to the Florida Gators.
Superlatives and Awards
Best Prospective NIL Deal
The Himothy Award for Most “Him” Performance
Best Meme Award
Another winning performance from Mr. Samuel Stava.
I wonder how many more media entities he can bring up. Chris Gervino certainly needs to make an appearance at some point, right?
I’m also partial to this “The Bear” reference that I’ve seen pop up now and then.