I’ve mentioned this in the recent past, but MV3 is a whole lot easier to write after wins.
Noteworthy performances happen in every game — well, almost every game — but it’s harder to pick them out after deflating losses like Missouri has experienced all season. On the flip side, it’s easy to see the good in a team when they’ve just gained a Top 25 road win. When I was going through my ballot, I counted at least six or seven players who could’ve earned a vote. Unfortunately, there’s only room for three, so we had to get picky.
1. Dominic Lovett
After a few weeks of battling injuries, all-conference level Dominic Lovett returned to action. Despite a limited number of snaps, Lovett was Missouri’s most dangerous offensive player, constantly getting open for explosive plays and burning the Gamecocks’ secondary. The sophomore had 150 all-purpose yards on 11 total touches, turning in another performance that cemented his status as a rising star.
2. Brady Cook
That was the Brady Cook all of us wanted (expected?) to see at the beginning of the season. Cook wasn’t flashy, but he made good decisions, hit the occasional deep ball and used his athleticism to pick up yards when asked. Cook was particularly deadly in the option game, pulling some gnarly fakes, including one that led to a touchdown. He benefitted from some good luck on the poor throws he made, but was overall an effective driver of play. If Cook can maintain that level of play through the rest of the season, Mizzou shouldn’t have much trouble getting a bowl bid.
T-3. Isaiah McGuire
Nate and I talked on the Dad Pod this week about the defensive line’s successful pressure and unsuccessful levels of production. Isaiah McGuire must have heard us. McGuire had the game of his season against the Gamecocks’ overmatched line, logging five tackles, three of which came for a loss, along with two sacks. McGuire was a constant presence in South Carolina’s backfield, forcing Spencer Rattler to scramble and run for his life all day... and the secondary was there to clean up the rest. McGuire’s big day showed the possibilities of what this defense could yet be if the defensive line starts converting on their havoc: one of the very best units in the country.
T-3. Cody Schrader
Usually we don’t do ties because this is the MV3 and not the MV4. But I couldn’t possibly leave Cody Schrader on the outside looking in after his performance on Saturday. And besides, he got the necessary vote totals, didn’t he?
Schrader’s numbers aren’t exactly All-American level — 22 carries for 81 yards and a touchdown; two catches for 32 yards — but they don’t tell the full story of Schrader’s impact. After starting the year in underwhelming fashion and losing his starting role, the Truman State transfer has more than proven that he’s an SEC caliber back. Schrader set the tone late in the game when Missouri was looking to eat clock, pounding away successful runs on standard downs until South Carolina had no prayer of getting back in the game. Mizzou’s run game hasn’t been sterling, but they needed a big performance in Columbia East and got one from Schrader.
Others receiving votes: Kristian Williams, Ennis Rakestraw, Jr.
Now it’s your turn! Tell us who your MV3 are in the comments or on Twitter!