Missouri sophomore wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham had the kind of game Saturday that fans and teammates wont soon forget a performance likely to be fondly recalled years from now.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
Im more relaxed out there and know my role a lot better, Green-Beckham said. Im out there making a lot more plays than I did last year.
Of course, its not simply the fact that Green-Beckham set a new Tigers single-game record with four touchdown grabs in a 48-17 win against Kentucky.
No, its the flair with which Green-Beckham battered the Wildcats that will be remembered.
After I threw that first touchdown pass to him, when I saw him go up and get it, Ive never seen somebody do it, Missouri redshirt freshman quarterback Maty Mauk said. I knew it was going to be a game for him. It was a mismatch, and we took advantage of it.
Mauk, who matched the Tigers single-game record with five touchdown passes in the victory, marveled at Green-Beckhams elevation on that first touchdown.
Not even Kentucky junior cornerback Nate Willis pass-interference penalty prevented Green-Beckham from bringing down the 8-yard fade for a touchdown.
It was the third time this season a defender fouled Green-Beckham in the end zone, yet still failed to prevent the 6-foot-6 Springfield, Mo., native from snaring a touchdown.
Green-Beckham also shrugged off a pass-interference penalty for a touchdown grab at Indiana and overcame a holding penalty a week later for a touchdown against Arkansas State.
I really just forget about the defender, Green-Beckham said. Im placing the ball in the air and really just thinking about that ball, when its going to get there and me going up and grabbing it.
Green-Beckhams second touchdown against Kentucky, a 7-yard fade from Mauk, was equally impressive another leaping grab over Willis.
I told him after the game, You wont fade me up. Just remember that, senior cornerback E.J. Gaines said. I was playing with him, but hes a great receiver, man. I can just see him growing since hes gotten here. He still has a lot to grow, but you can see hes making progress every week.
Of course, junior defensive end Kony Ealy was more impressed by Green-Beckhams third-quarter touchdown, a 22-yard grab reaching over safety Eric Dixon and hauling in the touchdown with his hands wrapped around Dixons back.
When he was in the end zone and he caught the ball over the defender, and the defender was between him and the ball, that was a veteran play, Ealy said.
Credit offensive coordinator Josh Hensons play-calling for the fourth-quarter score on a 7-yard slant, which fooled Willis completely. He was expecting another fade.
Youre seeing what his potential can be on the field (Saturday), Henson said. When hes playing like he did (Saturday), its very tempting (to throw it to him every play). When you go make plays, it builds confidence in what we call and how were going to use you.
Focusing only on the touchdowns ignores two more great plays Green-Beckham made among his seven catches for 100 yards.
It started with a 35-yard bomb down the sideline on Missouris second drive, which Green-Beckham hauled in with one arm as he fell to the ground between bracket coverage.
Green-Beckham also caught a short tunnel screen on third and 10 deep in Tigers territory, breaking a series of Wildcat tackles as he spun his way 12 yards for a first down.
He suffered a sprained ankle late in the third quarter and wore a boot on his right foot after the game. But with Missouri on a bye week, he said he didnt expect the ankle sprain to cost him any game time.
Im so proud of him, man, Ealy said. Whether its people saying he isnt living up to his hype, he went out there and showed it (Saturday). He can do that every game. Hes a beast. I know he can do that. Hes got it in him.
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