Missouri’s Darius White is expected to play Saturday at Texas A&M and his return should help bolster an offense that can use all the help it can get.
White was among the Tigers’ top targets with 15 catches for 230 yards and three touchdowns during the first four weeks of the season, but he’s been a non-factor in SEC play because of injuries.
Before Missouri’s SEC opener at South Carolina, White suffered a partial tear of his right groin that also sidelined him in the shutout loss against Georgia.
White returned against Florida, making two catches for nine of the Tigers’ paltry 20 passing yards during an odd win in Gainesville, only to injure his left groin the following week in practice, forcing him back to the sidelines against Vanderbilt and Kentucky.
“I think I was overcompensating for the right one and hurt the left one,” White said.
With an extra week to heal up after last week’s bye, he pronounced himself ready to roll for Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. kickoff in College Station, Texas.
“I could have played the Kentucky game, but I told myself I needed to sit out and get fully healthy — make sure I can be out there running and cutting and stuff,” White said. “Everything is not all fine and dandy. I’m still working on getting everything back, but this is a game that I definitely wanted to be in.”
White — a Texas transfer and Fort Worth, Texas, native — wouldn’t put a percentage on his current health, but said he’s getting daily treatment and has no doubt he’ll suit up against the Aggies.
“It’s part of football,” White said. “You’re going to have to play with pain sometimes, but it’s a pain that I can work with.”
Quarterback Maty Mauk is eager to reunite with White.
“Him being out there spreads the field more,” Mauk said. “You’re not going to focus on just Bud (Sasser) and just Jimmie (Hunt). Now, you’ve got to go sideline to sideline. You’ve got Darius out there who can go up and catch a ball in traffic, make a play and make people miss. It’s going to be huge for our offense.”
Mauk is also thrilled that it’s once again #MoneySeason, a Twitter hashtag he and White used regularly throughout the offseason.
“To see him have to go through that and sit out when it’s your last year is tough, but he’s really accepted that and moved on from it,” Mauk said.
During the first three games of conference play, Mauk completed only 27 of 73 passes for 249 yards no touchdowns and five interceptions. He’s bounced back the last two games, completing 29 of 56 for 305 yards with four touchdowns and no picks.
Buoyed by those confidence-building performances, White’s return provides another reason to hope that Mauk and the Tigers’ passing game will continue trending upward.
“Our guys are going to come down with the ball and make some plays,” Mauk said. “We also know that (the Aggies) are going to make some plays too, but we’ve just got to make more and come out on top.”