Missouri quarterback Drew Lock was wiping personal information from his phone this week as he prepared to trade up to a newer model when he stumbled upon some old photos.
“I went back to the beginning of my photos and the first couple are from the game against South Carolina (in 2015),” said Lock, who won national and conference awards for his record-breaking performance Saturday during a 72-43 win against Missouri State.
That 2015 game against the Gamecocks was Lock’s first start.
He completed 21 of 28 passes for 136 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions during a 24-7 win against the Gamecocks at Memorial Stadium against the backdrop of Maty Mauk’s suspension and with events festering on campus that would lead to a brief team boycott a month later.
“I might have had a false look at what I thought college football was going to be, especially when Florida came in the next week and kind of put me on my butt a couple of times,” Lock said. “Since then, I’ve learned a lot.”
Many hard-learned lessons were on display in the 2017 opener as Lock finished 21 of 34 with school records of 521 yards and seven touchdowns, earning him Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week and SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors after leading Mizzou to a school-record 815 yards of total offense.
Lock’s seven touchdowns tied the SEC record, and his 521 yards are the fifth-most by an SEC quarterback.
He is the sixth MU player to win the Walter Camp Player of the Week award since 2004, the last since former defensive end Markus Golden in November 2014.
Lock also is the first Tiger to win the SEC’s offensive award since former running back Russell Hansbrough in 2014.
“It’s cool,” Lock said. “I was excited. It’s an honor, but that was last week. You’re only as good as the one coming up. … I’m excited to get at an SEC team this week and show that last week wasn’t a fluke. There’s a lot to look forward to this week, and I’m going in very confident.”
With good reason, Tigers offensive coordinator Josh Heupel raved about Lock’s decisiveness, poise and accuracy Monday during a teleconference with reporters and head coach Barry Odom heaped on more praise during Tuesday’s news conference.
“He made a big jump and was more mature with his throws and more consistent, but that’s got to continue,” Odom said. “It was one week. He understands that. He’s got a great grasp of what we’re trying to do offensively and made some throws the other day that he wouldn’t have last year. … He’s growing up, and I expect him to continue to move in that direction.”
Missouri’s coaches particularly were impressed with a throwaway Lock had after his second read was covered, a pass he might have tried to force into coverage for a turnover during past seasons.
“The way he sees the field now, it’s slowed down for him quite a bit,” Odom said.
There also were some dazzling completions, of course, including a touchdown to senior tight end Jason Reese, when Lock moved the linebacker with his eyes and froze the safety before delivering a dart into the end zone.
He had a similar scoring toss to senior wide receiver Dominic Collins and dropped in a gorgeous deep pass to senior receiver J’Mon Moore for a 52-yard gain in the fourth quarter, becoming the first Tigers’ QB to top 500 yards with the completion.
“It was unbelievable,” junior right tackle Paul Adams said. “He was putting the ball where only our wide receivers could catch it. It was one of those games where all you had to do was protect for a little while and he did the rest.”
Those old photos Lock unearthed on his phone provided a nice moment to reflect on his journey during the last two seasons, especially as Mizzou prepares to open SEC play against South Carolina at 6 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
“I looked at them and was like, ‘Wow.’ I couldn’t believe I was really out there with the long hair popping out of the helmet,” Lock said. “That was a bad look. I should have cut that a long time ago.”