To say Josh Augusta is a run stopper, a pass rusher and a power runner is accurate. To say he’s a pie eater, is not.
Luckily, though, for Missouri’s 6-foot-4, 355-pound senior defensive tackle, an affinity for one of America’s favorite desserts is not a qualification for the Piesman Trophy, an award Augusta is indeed munching for.
“I want it bad,” Augusta said Tuesday, which was something indicated by the trophy’s placement on his Twitter cover photo. “When I first heard about it, I was like, man, I gotta get that.”
Early in the 2016-17 season, the man nicknamed “Juggernaut” made a name for himself in the eyes of those who baked up the award that has swept the country since its creation by SB Nation a year ago.
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Unlike senior linebacker Michael Scherer’s sentiment earlier this season that the award went to the player who could eat the most pies, the Piesman Trophy stands as “college football’s first trophy honoring linemen who do decidedly un-linemen things,” according to its Twitter bio.
Per the trophy’s initial qualifications page, the winner is “awarded for the best play in which a lineman throws, catches, or runs with the ball,” SB Nation’s Ryan Nanni wrote, “because those are things linemen don’t usually do.”
Due in part to the “bone” package that lines Augusta up at fullback for Missouri, the player running backs coach Cornell Ford called a “rare breed” has had the opportunity to run the ball.
Until a conversation with Ford prior to the season, that wouldn’t have been possible as coaches were looking at other guys on the defensive line.
“He came over to me and was like, ‘Really? Like, seriously dude, you’re not putting me over there?’ And I was like, you know, he’s right,” Ford said. “It was kind of an insult to him that he wasn’t over there and that he wasn’t our first choice. He was like, ‘Dude, you know my history, Google me,’ and you pull up his film and you’re like, ‘wow.’ I told the offensive staff and we pulled his film up … and the rest was history.”
To record history, to be the second-ever winner of the trophy that houses the cover spot on Augusta’s Twitter profile, plays likes a certain two that he made last Saturday against the Florida Gators will help.
Although not a throw, catch or run (which would excuse it from consideration), Augusta recorded a trackdown tackle that impressed Missouri coach Barry Odom enough to show the team in the film session on Sunday.
“It was unbelievable, wasn’t it?” Odom said on Monday. “... (He had) tremendous mental toughness and extra effort to make that play.”
The main play in his attempt to, yes, take the cake, was a run in the “bone” formation. With 12 minutes, 32 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Augusta barreled his way into the end zone for his first collegiate rushing touchdown.
The most impressive part about it to Scherer? Augusta didn’t fall down.
“Somebody said he hasn’t touched the ground yet all season when he’s run the ball, and he didn’t touch the ground in practice either when he ran the ball,” Scherer said. “I think he’s the only college football player ever to run the ball as many times as he has and never touch the ground.”
Six weeks remain for Augusta to rack up highlights tasty enough for the tens of voters that must come to a decision in December. And you can bet Augusta will leave no remnants.
“Before I leave, I gotta get that,” Augusta said. “I’ve been trying to do everything I can just to get that.”
Alec Lewis: @alec_lewis