Missouri and Harrison Mevis’ right leg shocked the college football world Saturday with a 30-27 walk off victory over No. 15 Kansas State to move to 3-0 on the young season.
There’s the term that, “offense wins games, and defense wins championships.” That may be true, but the most important part is that offense wins games first — it needs a quarterback to do so and come through when his team needs him the most.
While Mevis received the game ball after nailing the longest field goal in Southeastern Conference history, it was up to the Tigers’ quarterback to set the team up for gold.
With the game tied at 27, Brady Cook calm and collectively led the Tigers downfield with under two minutes to play hitting short passes to Luther Burden III, Tyler Stephens, and Mookie Cooper for short gains to the Tigers 44-yard line.
Cook then overcame the first incompletion of the drive to Theo Wease by finding him on back-to-back plays inside K-State territory with eight seconds to play. The completions, like the previous five were short but significant as is set Missouri up at the 44 yard line with around eight seconds to play.
“We had the ball, we had a chance, and it wasn’t pretty but ultimately, we gave Mevis and his big leg a chance,” Cook said.
Missouri did take a delay of game penalty moving the ball back, but it was still in Mevis’ range who drilled a 61-yard game winning attempt leading to the first field storming at Faurot Field since 2014.
“I couldn’t be any prouder of Harrison Mevis,” Eli Drinkwitz said. “A 61-yard field goal...I told Erik (Link) before, I said in the fourth quarter, we’re gonna hit a winner with our field goal. I didn’t realize it would be 61, but without the wind, I’m not sure if that happens, and man it was a lot of fun.”
Mevis has never attempted a 61-yarder in a game before, but he did in practice. The answer to if he made that one was “heck yeah.” Mevis who now has his name a top of the SEC record books gave all credit to his teammates leading up to the kick.
“I knew what I had to do,” Mevis said. “Give the defense credit they made them go three-and-out two times to give me a chance for the kick. It’s just down to doing the little things right, it comes down to the snap and hold operation, it comes down to me hitting a clean ball, it comes down to me getting through the wall and all those things clicked.”
The game was not only significant for Drinkwitz, or Mevis who’s now overcame now three missed field goals, he missed a 53-yarder early in the game, but also the Tigers’ signal caller, who was booed during introductions.
“To be quite honest. I’m gonna say it pissed me off when we booed our starting quarterback to start the game, that pissed me off,” Drinkwitz said. “He went out there and played his butt off for this university and his team. And (the fans that booed) they need to get behind the young man. You want to boo me fine. You don’t boo the starting quarterback. I’ll say it again it should never happen.”
Cook engineered a career day, going 23-35 for 356 yards on the afternoon against the defending Big 12 champions. For a fanbase that had its question marks about the quarterback position, despite efficient play during the end of the 2022 season and the start of the 2023 campaign, the doubters were silinced for at least a week.
K-State scored on their first offensive drive, led by Will Howard who found Phillip Brooks on a deflected pass in the end zone, but the Cook-led offense immediately responded.
After three run plays and a short pass to Cody Schrader, he uncorked a deep ball to Luther Burden III for a 47-yard score tying the game up at seven and it wasn’t the last the two would connect in the end zone for the day.
“I saw the safety come down, and shoot if the safety come down the ball gotta’s come to me,” said Burden who finished with 114 yards on seven receptions. “There was nothing but me, the ball and Brady. Shoutout to Brady, it was a great ball, great protection. It was great.”
Kansas State later took the lead following a Missouri field goal which was responded by a Will Howard to Ben Sinnot score to make it 14-10.
On the ensuing Wildcats scoring drive, Cook delivered a pair of beautiful throws combining for 68 yards to both Mookie Cooper and Brett Norfleet. The drive briefly stalled before on fourth and goal, Cook called his own number on a fake reverse to put the Tigers up 17-14 going into the locker room. To make his performance more impressive, Cook wasn’t near 100% with an injury he sustained in the first half suffering a sprained knee, leading to concern and questions within the locker room coming out of the break.
To make matters worse, the Wildcats once again came storming back in the second half. After playing near flawless football, the Tigers offense lost yardage on its first three offensive plays with a negative yardage rush, a sack, and its first penalty of the game on a false start. K-State capitalized on its next drive tying the game up at 17.
On the next offensive possession for the Tigers, facing a 3rd and 5 at their own 39, Connor Tollison and Brady Cook were not on the same page in regards to the snap count resulting in Tollison snapping it without Cook’s knowing. It lost four yards in which K-State capitalized on its next drive.
Will Howard carved Missouri’s defense apart going 5-6 on the drive. After keeping the Wildcats out of the end zone for two plays due to back-to-back penalties, Howard set up the Wildcats score by completing a 19-yard strike to Phillip Brooks on 2nd and 22, he then found fullback Ben Sinnot on a jump pass in the end zone giving K-State its first lead since the 7:57 mark in the first quarter.
But, Missouri, more specifically Cook responded in a game where the entire team faced adversity. He completed two tight window throws to Wease, and freshman Marquis Johnson for a combined 68 yards inside the K-State 10-yard line.
“To battle through a game like this and then to come out with a victory, it just shows who (Brady) is and what he’s all about,” said Cooper who finished with 79 yards on four receptions. “Everyday we know what we gonna get from 12 and this is just another day for him really.”
The offense stalled in plus territory, but Mevis came away with a 25-yard field goal.
Two drives later, Schrader’s gain to the Kansas State 26 yard line set up the Tigers final touchdown drive. Cook hit Burden on a quick pass who took it to the house for a 26 yard score put Missouri up once again 27-24, another two possessions before unleashing an incredible game winning drive.
Missouri heads to St. Louis next week to face off against Memphis at The Dome at America’s Center at 6:30 pm on ESPNU. It’s the Tigers first trip to St. Louis since defeating Illinois in 2010.
“It’s like a dream come true,” Burden said. “It’s gonna be a lot of my family there and I look forward to seeing them...I’m trying to go 1-0 there.”
“That’s so unique and its gonna be great for Mizzou as a whole to spread awareness to St. Louis and really keep the buzz going,” Cook said. “That’ll be cool playing in the dome. It’s been a while since I’ve been in that dome.”