Sophomore backup quarterback Marvin Zanders has played in five of six games this season for Missouri, but Saturday was different.
For the first time against a Southeastern Conference opponent, Zanders attempted a pass — four, to be exact — after the Tigers’ starter, sophomore Drew Lock, struggled in a 40-14 loss at Florida.
Zanders had some success, too. He completed three of four passes for 59 yards during the fourth quarter to go with eight carries for 31 yards.
“Marvin did some good things the other night, as everybody got to see,” first-year Mizzou coach Barry Odom said Monday during his weekly news conference. “The first drive he was in, I don’t think he had a lot of success, but, as the game wore on (and) later in the game, he did some good things.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
Zanders took 19 snaps, a season-high against Power Five competition, and led a 13-play, 99-yard touchdown drive in the game’s closing minutes.
That doesn’t mean Lock is in danger of losing his job, but he was just 4 of 18 for 39 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions — both returned by Gators cornerbacks for touchdowns.
“Drew’s good,” senior linebacker Michael Scherer said. “Anybody talking about Drew this and Drew that is crazy because three weeks ago you thought Drew was God. … There’s nothing to say to him. Drew’s good.”
Still, Odom said his staff will try to find “balance” in deploying Lock and Zanders during upcoming games.
“I don’t ever want to get to the point where Drew can do this or Marvin can’t do that,” Odom said. “I don’t want to (have) the run guy and the pass guy. That doesn’t really help too much. … In continuing to develop both of those guys, we’ve got to have a good plan going into it on how much both of them (can) do.”
Missouri did not make Lock or Zanders available Monday to speak with reporters.
Black baffled by lack of snaps
Missouri senior wide receiver Chris Black struggled to stay healthy during four seasons, including a redshirt campaign, at Alabama.
Black, a graduate-student transfer, insists it isn’t health that’s keeping him out of the lineup these days.
“Early on, when I first got here, I was a little banged up, and in camp, I went down for a few days with a minor hamstring injury,” he said. “ … But for now, I’m good. I’m 110 percent.”
Why then did Black only play one snap on offense Saturday at Florida?
“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s not for me to answer.”
Black is fourth on the Tigers with 14 catches and fifth with 199 yards, but he’s been used sporadically since catching six passes for 102 yards and a touchdown in the season-opener at West Virginia.
“It’s very frustrating, but I think it would be frustrating to anybody,” he said when asked about his playing time. “But it’s nothing that will hold me down. I’m going to keep coming out, working and continue to believe in God.”
Black doesn’t believe poor practice habits are the reason he’s not playing.
“I bring energy to the offense every day,” he said. “That’s what I try to do. I try to lead my team. Everything is about the team for me. That’s first.”
Mizzou-Kentucky gets early start
Missouri’s return to SEC play against Kentucky received a morning kickoff. The Tigers will play host to the Wildcats at 11 a.m. Oct. 29 on the SEC Network.
The all-time series between the two programs is tied at 3-3, but Mizzou has won three of four games since entering the Southeastern Conference.
Weekly conference awards
Two Missouri women’s athletes won weekly conference awards Monday, the SEC announced.
Tigers junior Melanie Crow, a transfer from Mississippi, was chosen as the SEC volleyball offensive player of the week.
She racked up a career-high 23 kills and 16 digs in a 3-2 comeback win Sunday at Alabama.
Meanwhile, forward Sarah Luebbert was chosen as the SEC women’s soccer freshman of the week for the third time.
She scored both goals in Mizzou’s 2-1 win Friday at Vanderbilt. Her nine goals are the third most by a freshman in program history.
The Star’s Tod Palmer also contributed to this report.