With so many players choosing to head off to the NFL this spring, Missouri is happy to announce they will be getting one more year out of quarterback Drew Lock. Missouri announced Lock has decided to return for the 2018 season after carefully weighing his decisions regarding a future in the NFL.
“I’m very excited to be coming back for my senior year, and I’m really optimistic about what we can do as a team next season,” Lock said in a statement released by Missouri. “There were a lot of factors that went into this decision, but the main ones include: a feeling of responsibility and loyalty to my coaches and teammates at Mizzou – we have goals to achieve together; having the chance to play for a new coach in [new offensive coordinator Derek Dooley], and his system that will continue to add to my development; and of course, getting my degree.”
“I’m proud of Drew and his family for how they approached this decision and how they handled themselves during the process,” Missouri head coach Barry Odom said in a released statement. “We were very thorough in gathering all the information possible to assist. Drew obviously has a great skill set that will continue to be developed at Mizzou. His leadership skills and being a great teammate are two qualities that I admire. I look forward to building our team this spring and am excited that Drew will be part of that.
Lock’s return is a significant one for the Tigers going into the 2018 season. Lock led the SEC with 304.9 passing yards per game with 44 touchdowns to just 13 interceptions. Even in a conference that will have some emerging star power at the quarterback position, Lock should continue to be an asset to the Missouri offense as the Tigers continue to try keeping the ball moving with more confidence next fall.
Missouri’s offense will return nine starters from one of the more dynamic offensive units the SEC had to offer. With seven more starters coming back on defense, Missouri hopes to get off to a better start to the season and have a more competitive chance to make some noise in the SEC. Missouri will get to host Georgia and Memphis (non-conference) but the road slate could be difficult. The Tigers travel to Alabama and will have to play division games on the road against Florida and Tennessee, each with new head coaches in 2018.
It was a tale of two quarters between Missouri and Arkansas, with Arkansas rushing out of the gates for a 21-7 lead only to see Missouri battle back to take a 31-28 lead into halftime. Missouri kicker Tucker McCann kicked a 37-yard field goal in the final minute of the half to give Missouri the lead.
Arkansas cashed in on an interception by Missouri quarterback Drew Lock on the game’s opening possession by traveling 70 yards on five plays to take a 7-0 lead with a Devwah Whaley goal line run. Mizzou’s Ish Witter capped a 92-yard drive later in the first quarter to tie the game at 7-7, but the Razorbacks stormed right back with a quick four-play, 75-yard touchdown drive highlighted by Austin Allen‘s 57-yard pass to Jordan Jones for the score. Moments later, a good punt return by Henre’ Toliver gave the Razorbacks the ball at the Missouri 29-yard line and two plays later David Williams ran in from 16 yards out for a score to push the lead to 21-7.
Lock led a second-quarter charge for the Tigers with three touchdown passes, including one from 55 yards and another from 56 yards as the big plays doomed Arkansas.
The Missouri Tigers have scored 12 points in their last three games, all losses to Florida, Georgia and Vanderbilt. Help is now on the way, with quarterback Maty Mauk being reinstated by the program.
Mauk was suspended by Missouri in early October prior to the game against Florida. The reasons for the indefinite suspension have never been confirmed by head coach Gary Pinkel. The only explanation to date has been Mauk violated team rules. The St. Louis Dispatch reports Mauk has already rejoined his teammates during Missouri’s bye week, although it has not been confirmed if he will play against Mississippi State on Thursday, November 5.
Freshman Drew Lock filled in for Mauk the past three games, with no touchdowns to show for it and a completion percentage below 42 percent. Mauk has not had a good year either, completing just 51.8 percent of his pass attempts with six touchdowns to four interceptions. Still, having the experienced junior may help reverse the offensive trends in time to save the season on some degree.
Missouri is currently 4-4, two wins shy of becoming bowl-eligible. Missouri still has games to play against BYU (in Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium), Tennessee and at Arkansas after facing Mississippi State next week. With little margin for error to get two more wins, having Mauk back in charge of the offense as quickly as possible will give the Tigers a chance to get back to the postseason for the 11th time under Pinkel. The two-time defending SEC East champs are not heading back to Atlanta this season for the SEC Championship Game, but the postseason is still in sight for Missouri.