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MV3: The star, the hero, and the underdog

Three players received votes after Mizzou’s upset over Kansas State. And it’s the three players you’d probably guess.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 16 Kansas State at Missouri

Welcome to the MV3, a weekly piece where Rock M Nation’s staff votes on the three most impactful players in Mizzou’s previous game.

There’s an old adage in sports, one that transcends the uniform you wear and the type of ball you’re scuttling around the field/court/rink/etc.

“To win when it counts, your stars have to be your stars.” Or something like that.

The point is, the lights shine brightest on the best players for a reason. And if you’re ever going to be worth a damn, you better make sure your best players are playing their best when it matters.

Saturday mattered. And Mizzou’s stars came ready to show it.

1. Luther Burden III

NCAA Football: Kansas State at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t know that we’ve been waiting for a “Luther Burden break out game.”

But this was the “Luther Burden break out game.”

Assuming the sophomore receiver goes onto the career we want him to have — creating highlights, setting records, getting drafted, starring on Sundays, etc. — Saturday will be the day we point back to and say, “That’s when we knew.”

Against one of the country’s better defenses, Burden was untouchable. He was open downfield. He was open in the backfield. He made some guys miss. He pushed through guys that didn’t. Every single time Luther Burden III touched the football, something special happened. He tallied 114 receiving yards and two scores, both of equally impressive stature. Hell, Kansas State was so scared of him that a fake handoff let Brady Cook walk a fourth-and-one attempt into the end zone nearly untouched.

Luther Burden, my friends, has arrived.

2. Harrison Mevis

NCAA Football: Kansas State at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

It feels a grievous injustice to leave Harrison Mevis off the top spot of this week’s MV3. After that kick? The longest in SEC history and (potentially) the biggest in school history?

Harrison Mevis has heard about his own demise for months now. The missed winner at Auburn seemed the beginning of the end of his legend. The easy misses against South Dakota and Middle Tennessee all but confirmed it.

Then, Mevis had a vintage day against the Wildcats. He missed a 54-yarder early in the game (by inches, mind you) but was perfect otherwise. And when Eli Drinkwitz and the offense handed him a raw deal — 56 yards, plus five more for posterity — Mevis cashed it.

Saturday’s nuke shot will go into the annals of Mizzou Football history, as it should. And Harrison Mevis is back on track to becoming one of the Tigers’ all-time kicking legends.

3. Brady Cook

NCAA Football: Kansas State at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Talk about injustices. How about repaying introductory boos with your best performance in a Tiger uniform?

Brady Cook hasn’t been able to rest since being named the starter this season. You couldn’t catch unqualified praise for him anywhere outside the mouth of Eli Drinkwitz. And, to be completely fair, he didn’t exactly light the world on fire against South Dakota or Middle Tennessee State. Why should facing Kansas State, the team that jarred him so thoroughly in 2022, be any different?

Why, indeed? Cook was nearly flawless on Saturday, displaying everything Mizzou fans should love about him — his toughness on a sprained knee, his mobility establishing the run game early — and have wanted to love about him. Not only did he hit a number of deep balls, he dropped some absolute dimes.

It’s time to let Brady be Brady. I’ve long been somewhat ambivalent about that fact. “He is what he is,” has been my mantra. Maybe I should’ve been saying it with more enthusiasm.

Honorable Mention: Faurot Field

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 16 Kansas State at Missouri Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It has to be mentioned when considering the atmosphere Kansas State walked into on Saturday: Faurot Field was absolutely rocking. Sell outs have become as much of a marketing tool as a true barometer of economic success in professional sport, but make no mistake: Mizzou sold that game out. All you had to do was listen.

There will be some hemming and hawing over the fans’ decision to rush the field after the game. Should the Tigers be celebrating wins like that at this point in their history, some rival fan bases may say. And to that, I reply: touch grass, nerds.

Football is fun when your team wins. It’s especially fun when your team wins like that.

Take a tip from the boisterous Mizzou crowd: Let it be fun.

Others receiving votes: NONE