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MV3: The hometown kids show out in Mizzou’s St. Louis win

Eli Drinkwitz made a big deal of his players returning to their home city. They rewarded his faith.

NCAA Football: Memphis at Missouri Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports

Much like I put it last week: Your stars have to shine the brightest when the lights are hottest.

Saturday could have been a trap game for Mizzou. The win over Kansas State was cathartic, a reminder of how far the Tigers have come over the past several years. The Memphis game? That was the one after the bigger one, and Mizzou couldn’t afford to lose if they wanted to keep up the momentum they built.

So they went out and took care of business. Especially their stars.

1. Luther Burden III

NCAA Football: Memphis at Missouri Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports

With 10:36 left to go in the third quarter, Luther Burden took a ball 56 yards down field to put Mizzou in prime position to blow the game open. It was his ninth catch of the evening, one that ran him to 173 total yards receiving. Unfortunately, he had to leave the game for a good minute due to severe cramping and only caught one ball for 4 yards after that play.

Wrap your head around that. In essentially one half of football, Luther Burden, a true sophomore, caught the ball 9 times for 173 yards and, for the most part, looked relatively unfazed doing so. I’m not just saying he was unflappable and confident; of course he was both of those things. When I say unfazed, I mostly mean untouched. Undisturbed. Unbothered. Dare I say it: Luther Burden made it look easy.

The sky is the limit for a player of Burden’s pure talent and determination. He’s broken onto the national stage in a big way, and saved his best performance of the season (so far!) for his hometown. Imagine what he’s going to do when the lights get brighter.

2. Brady Cook

NCAA Football: Memphis at Missouri Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports

The common refrain amongst Brady Cook’s defenders this offseason has been “he is what he is.” Because for the past year and change, that’s all we’ve known Brady Cook as: a decent runner with a serviceable arm.

Who knew it would take a bone bruise in his knee to bring out the explosive piece of his game? Brady Cook was, once again, electric against Memhis, throwing for 340 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions or, really, interceptable balls. And while he wasn’t asked to do as much with his legs, he also added a few nice runs on his strapped up knee.

Cook may not be this good long-term, but he deserves credit for what he’s currently doing. And what he’s currently doing is playing like one of the very best quarterbacks. And not just in the SEC.

In the country.

3. Dreyden Norwood

NCAA Football: Memphis at Missouri Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports

Ah, there’s the exception. Despite quite a few St. Louis kids stepping up and contributing, our staff thought Dreyden Norwood was most deserving of praise amongst the defenders. With Ennis Rakestraw Jr. confined to the sidelines with an injury, the former Texas A&M Aggie was targeted early and often by Memphis’ offense. Norwood was mostly excellent, including two key pass defenses and constantly acting as a menace in the secondary.

Others receiving votes: Kris Abrams-Draine, Cody Schrader

How about you? Do you think we got our three picks right? Let us know in the comments.