10 year review: Mizzou in the SEC

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Top 5 Games

5. Missouri 45 | LSU 41

October 10, 2020

The defensive national champions have come to Colombia amid the COVID-19 pandemic looking to avoid starting the season under 0.500. Ilya Drinkewitz was looking for his first win as the Tigers head coach, and he got it. Conor Basilak had a career day (406 yards, 4 TDs) and beat Miles Brennan in a shootout. That win would push the Tigers toward a surprising 5-5 season in team play, one that showed Drinkwitz could win the SEC.

4. Missouri 38 | #11 Florida 17

November 3, 2018

A week after a totally heartbreaking loss at the hands of Kentucky, Mizzou had another tough job going to Swamp to take on the talented Florida side. When all seemed lost, Drew Lock stepped up. The Tigers scored 21 consecutive points in the first half, and advanced by 25 points in the second half on their way to an easy win. Lock’s day was effective, throwing for 250 yards and 3 TDs, while the team as a whole ran for 231 yards. It was an unexpected win at a time when this team seemed to be faltering, and it once again demonstrated Mizzou’s ability to upset the Gators. (See 2013, which is also considered highly for this list.)

3. #8 Missouri 41 | #13 Oklahoma State 31

January 4, 2014

After a close defeat to eventual national runner-up Auburn in the SEC game, Mizzou still had a chance to get some equipment in Arlington. In a classic 12 fight, the Oklahoma State gave the Tigers all they could handle, as the two sides combined for a whopping 38 points in the fourth quarter. Henry Josey had three quick touchdowns, but the highlight of this game would always be Michael Sam’s zigzagging sack that landed Shane Ray for 73 yards to claim victory. It was a perfect ending to a great season in the conference, it was announced that Mizzou was here to stay at the SEC.

2. #25 Missouri 41 | #7 Georgia 26

October 12, 2013

If ever there was a game that proved Mizzou in the SEC, this was it. Having gone 5-7 the year before and not expecting much from them in 2013, the Tigers marched to Athens and brought down a Georgia team that many thought were hoping for a national championship. Missouri went up 28-10 in the first inning, thanks in large part to a Shane Ray strip bag that Michael Sam brought back for TD (a bit of a role reversal from the OSU game, right?). James Franklin will be leaving with a second-half injury, but some tricks and a salty defense prevented UGA from making any kind of comeback. This was the game that I started playing for two years in the East.

1. #5 Missouri 28 | #21 Texas A&M 21

December 1, 2013

With December in Colombia, Faurot Field was packed with one of the biggest rides in Mizzou’s history. The Tigers had the chance of making a birth in the SEC title match in just their second year of being in the conference. Under the spotlight, all the Tigers had to do was fend off old Big 12 enemy TAMU and magician Johnny Manzel. Henry Josie’s 57-yard touchdown with 3:34 left decided the game for the Tigers and became one of the best moments in Mizzou football history and one of the loudest at Faurot Field. If the Georgia game kicked off Miso’s arrival at the conference, that was the exclamation point.

South Carolina vs Missouri

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Top 5 players

The honorable: Marcus Golden (DL, LB), J’Mon Moore (WR), Henry Josie (RB), James Franklin (QB)

5. Tyler Badie (Right Back)

Occupational Statistics (2018-21): 513 wagons, 2,740 yards, 23 TD, 1,149 yards, 11 TDs

Wait his time, and boy did it pay off. Tyler Badie had to wait behind Larry Roundtree for years, to remain a high-quality secondary option that people thought could be nothing more than a reverse gear shift. Then 2021 happened. Badi finally got the bulk of the gigs, blasting for over 1,600 yards and 14 TDs. It’s hard to point out just one strength he possessed, because Badi’ was very good. Despite its small size, it has proven that it can be a standout in the toughest conference in the country. Badi’s vision of the area’s running scheme was fascinating, as he was famous for penetrating holes and traveling long distances. Nobody was touching him in the open, and he carried the 2021 offense on his back at times. Put it in there with any running back from Mizzou.

4. Kentrell Brothers (LB)

Occupational Statistics (2012-15): 357 total passes, 23.5 TFLs, 4.5 sacks, 5 intelligence, 11 assists, 4 compulsory passes

While the defensive line has received the most attention during back-to-back SEC East Championship rounds, it was the Kentrell Brothers who led this team. He was all you could want in a linebacker, and his 152 first-season interference went down in 12 TFL’s as one of the best singles years the Mizzou player has had.

3. Michael Sam (Germany)

Occupational Statistics (2010-13): 110 total interventions, 31.5 TFLs, 17 sacks, 2 IQs, 5 forced sticks

If there is a passionate leader among the many great defensive linemen who have played at Mizzou during these times, it is Michael Sam. 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, Sam has been a steady force up front living in the background. He inspired the next generation (Golden, Ray), and became one of the players who most feared wearing black and gold.

2. Drew Luke (QB)

Occupational Statistics (2015-18): 56.9% achievement, 12,193 yards, 99 TDs (No. 3 in SEC history), 39 intelligence, 437 fast yards, 9 TDs

It wasn’t always perfect under Drew Locke, but it’s hard to deny that he was the most prolific quarterback Mizo had seen since Blaine Jabbert when he was on the field. Locke had a cannon to his arm, loved to throw the ball 40-50 times a game, and had a little moxie to go with that. His development over his four years on campus has been impressive, with QB becoming more inclusive and able to lead his team. Look at his near-perfect performance against Florida in 2018, or his 467-yard and 6-TDs against Idaho, or his 375-yard, 3-TD against Purdue on the road as prime examples of his talent. When it was hot, Drew Luke was hot. His numbers speak for themselves, and it’s scary to think what some of Mizzou’s teams would have looked like had Lock not been around with them.

1. Shane Ray (Germany)

Occupational Statistics (2012-2014): 120 total interventions, 34 TFLs, 19 sacks, 5 compulsory holdouts

It was a tough race over the top, but personally I would be remiss if I didn’t put in passes in the lead. And let’s be honest, Shane Ray has a huge claim to that. He built what Michael Sam did and formed half of the nation’s best passing duo in 2014 (the gold being the other half). His 14.5 sacks in 2014 were the largest in a single season in Mizzou’s history, as he only bullied quarterbacks every Saturday. His drive was second to none, and with a 34 TFL, it was effective at stopping the run as well.

best moment:

It could certainly be said, but in terms of everything coming together and the perfect stage to do so, Texas A&M is like no other. The atmosphere at Faurot Field was amazing, the endgame was thrilling, and Mizzou earned a berth in the SEC game, a feat that people thought was impossible for a team that had just joined the league. And yes, hitting Johnny Manzel is always fun.

worst moment:

You can go a lot of ways here, but I’m going to choose to follow it from a heartbreaking angle. The 2018 loss to Kentucky was very painful at the moment, but it hurts even more knowing that this team won four games in a row to finish the regular season (in a dominant fashion) and had a chance of contending for the East title had they won. Instead, a Kentucky team that seemed headed for a great year grabbed the miraculous win, and Faurot Field sat dumbfounded.

biggest annoyance

The 2013 Georgia game announced that Missouri had arrived. Not much gave Mizzou a chance, but 4 Bulldog twists and a TD trick play that saw Bud Sasser throw a 40-yard touchdown to L’Damian Washington allowed the Tigers to stun Athena. This would be the game that propelled Mizzou into a magical race in the East and showed that she could compete with the girls of the conference.

Missouri vs Indiana

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Employment rankings since joining

  1. 2022 (17th overall, 6th in the conference)
  2. 2015 (25th place overall, 12th place in the conference)
  3. 2021 (30th overall, 11th in the conference)
  4. 2019 (34th place overall, 13th in the conference)
  5. 2014 (No. 37 overall, No. 13 in conference)
  6. 2017 (No. 42 overall, No. 13 in conference)
  7. 2018 (No. 43 overall, No. 13 in the conference)
  8. 2016 (No. 43 overall, No. 13 in the conference)
  9. 2013 (No. 43 overall, 14th in the conference)
  10. 2020 (49th place overall, 13th in the conference)

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl - Minnesota vs Missouri

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In general, what we have learned

  • We knew it was going to get in, but the SEC is tough, especially in the trenches. When Mizu was playing well on both sides, they won. When they don’t, they are lost.
  • This team’s overall talent level has been holding them back over the past five years, but it’s steadily improving compared to other SEC teams. If the above employment rankings are any indication, it is that the level of talent in Colombia will soon catch up with the rest of the conference.
  • Winning the SEC requires persistence. It doesn’t matter if you can upset Georgia or Florida if you can’t consistently beat Tennessee, South Carolina, Arkansas, etc. Every week is stressful, and it takes a special team to succeed from start to finish.
  • Ambiance is incredibly important at this conference, as some of the game’s greatest cathedrals are located in the Southeast. While Faurot Field has seen its fair share of big games, crowd turnout in recent years has been poor, and it has affected playing on the field. To win this conference, the fan base must be as invested as the team.
  • Mizzou has already proven that he can find success in this conference, but then again, it takes a special team to maintain a certain level of play every week in the SEC.

Oklahoma v Missouri

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Questions for the future

  1. Will Drenkewitz be able to outpace Benkel’s success at the SEC?
  2. When will the next Tigers win in the East?
  3. Can they finish the top five in recruitment at the conference?
  4. Will the additions of Oklahoma and Texas cause the Tigers to fall two places in the rankings?
  5. Could Tigers Resurrect the “DLU” Slogan That Inspired Some Early Success?

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