Missouri quarterback Drew Lock’s favorite moment from his first collegiate start, a 24-10 win Saturday against South Carolina at Memorial Stadium, wasn’t either of the touchdowns he threw to sophomore wide receiver Nate Brown.
It came in the closing minute when Lock stepped in the huddle and told his teammates it was time for the victory formation.
“We started going ‘sugar,’ which is our huddle that we normally don’t ever do, but I was kind of standing there talking to the offensive line, like, ‘Hey, we actually won this game today,’ ” Lock said.
Moments later, Lock took a knee then went with his teammates to reclaim the Mayor’s Cup, which is awarded annually to the winner between the Tigers and Gamecocks. Both schools are in towns named Columbia.
“Drew really did some good things for a young player,” Pinkel said. “We were a little conservative in the second half with some of the field position we had, trying to get our running game going and things like that, but I thought he really carried himself well.”
Lock, who was MU’s first true freshman starting quarterback since Corby Jones in 1995, finished 21 of 28 for 136 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
He also had two big runs, a 9-yard gain on fourth-and-3 to extend a first-quarter touchdown drive and a 4-yard gain on third-and-3 during the final drive that melted the final 6:42 off the clock.
Lock said he learned that he’d be starting Tuesday when Missouri’s coaching staff informed the team that junior Maty Mauk had been suspended along with backup left tackle Malik Cuellar during a team meeting before practice.
Lock had followed Mauk’s lead throughout the summer, into fall camp and since the season began, so last week was a unique experience.
“It was truly different,” Lock said. “I’d always follow him in practice and, whatever he did, I’d more than likely try to imitate it. … But (backup quarterbacks) Eddie (Printz) and Marvin (Zanders) did a heck of a job being in my ear this week.”
Printz even reviewed plays Friday night with Lock, making sure he was as prepared as possible for the Gamecocks.
“People probably think we have some head-knocking, people fighting for your job … but we’re just bros,” Lock said. “We really are just bros.”
Lock went 16 of 19 for 108 yards in the first half.
“I was pretty confident,” Lock said. “I was happy, to say the least, that I had some series under my belt. I’m glad it wasn’t my first time ever playing in that situation.”
Lock looked confident too. He was walking off the field, both hands pointed to the sky before Brown even caught Saturday’s first touchdown, an 8-yard strike, midway through the first quarter.
“I felt pretty good about my first T-Hunt touchdown and I’ve really, really wanted another one,” Lock said, referring to the 78-yard bomb he completed to senior running back Tyler Hunt in the season opener against Southeast Missouri. “I hadn’t got it from that moment, so I let it all out.”
Lock’s second touchdown was an even better throw, dare I say an NFL-caliber dart for a 9-yard score to Brown.
“We had seen him all camp, and he had opened our eyes then,” senior safety and captain Ian Simon said. “And he’s made plays whenever he’s gotten his opportunity this season. I expected that out of him. The kid can play ball, for sure.”
Clearly, Lock seems to be settling in on the field, but he’s learning to relax off it too.
“Last night, I slept like a baby, believe it or not,” Lock said. “It’s kind of surprising to me, because my first game against SEMO, I didn’t sleep at all. But I slept like a baby.”
It helped that Lock knew the team had his back and that Mauk also offered his support.
“The man (Mauk) sent me a text before the game and a text after the game,” Lock said. “The first person I heard to say congrats was him. It was good to hear from him.”