Drew Lock

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Oklahoma State closes 2018 with Liberty Bowl win over No. 23 Missouri

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If you spent your New Years Eve sitting through the defensive slugfests that were the Sun Bowl and Redbox Bowl, then you deserved to reward yourself for your devotion to the sport of college football by catching the second half of the Autozone Liberty Bowl. Oklahoma State (7-6) avoided a complete meltdown in the fourth quarter to drop No. 23 Missouri (8-5) by a score of 38-33.

Oklahoma State nearly coughed up a bowl win in the fourth quarter by having one of the worst showings in the fourth quarter seen this bowl season. It started with Missouri quarterback Drew Lock uncorking an 86-yard touchdown pass to Johnathan Johnston on the first play from scrimmage after Cam Hilton picked off a pass from Cowboys quarterback Taylor Cornelius in the red zone. That cut a 16-point deficit to a nine-point game after kicking an extra point. Larry Rountree III brought Missouri to within two points with a 55-yard touchdown run on a drive that was aided by a pair of personal foul penalties called on Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State later made the odd decision to try running a fake punt that was not catching the Missouri special teams unit off guard for a turnover on downs, although the football gods refused to punish the Cowboys by having a Missouri field goal attempt to give the Tigers the lead blocked to preserve the two-point lead for Oklahoma State.

The offense was bonkers in the game, especially compared to some of the earlier bowl results in the day. The teams combined for 1,139 offensive yards, with Missouri leading Oklahoma State 637-502. Oklahoma State also lost the turnover battle (2-1) and the time of possession battle, yet they came up with the only defensive play needed in the game with a fourth-down stop of Lock to preserve the win.

Lock had passed for 373 yards with three touchdowns. Cornelius passed for 366 yards and four touchdowns but had two interceptions for Oklahoma State. In the absence of Justice Hill, who sat out of the bowl game to focus on staying healthy for the NFL draft process, Oklahoma State handed the ball off to Chuba Hubbard, who rushed for 145 yards and a score. Missouri’s Rountree topped him with 204 rushing yards.

The win marked the third consecutive season ending with a bowl victory for Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are now 9-4 in bowl games under Gundy since he was named the head coach of the program. Oklahoma State also avoided a losing season for the first time since 2005, Gundy’s first season as head coach in Stillwater.

Although the season ends with a second straight bowl loss, the Tigers took another step forward this season by improving its win total from the previous year. Barry Odom‘s third year on the job continued to show some signs of progress for the program as they move into 2019 looking to getting back to a level where it can be a factor in the SEC East. The Tigers are a good way away from their back-to-back SEC East Division runs under former head coach Gary Pinkel at a time when the rest of the division has and could continue to improve as well, but the offense continues to offer a glimmer of hope in Columbia.

Offenses coming alive in Liberty Bowl as Mizzou leads Oklahoma State at halftime

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It took a little bit of time to warm up, but the offenses of Missouri and Oklahoma State reached halftime finally clicking. After a slow start to the game, Missouri leads Oklahoma State 16-14 at halftime in Memphis as the old Big 12 foes are reunited.

Oklahoma State opened the scoring in the first quarter with Dillon Stoner hauling in a 30-yard touchdown pass from Taylor Cornelius. The Tigers responded with a 24-yard field goal by Tucker McCann.

Missouri took their first lead of the game midway through the second quarter when Drew Lock finished off a 16-play drive with a touchdown pass to Dominic Gicinto for five yards. The drive started at the Missouri three-yard line after Oklahoma State downed a punt deep on that end of the field after having the ball at the Missouri 38-yard line.

Oklahoma State responded, however, with a touchdown drive of their own as the offenses for both teams really felt like they were getting in a rhythm. Taylor Cornelius juked under pressure for a key 12-yard gain and followed that with a touchdown pass to Tyron Johnson, which needed to be upheld by video review. Undeterred, Lock and the Mizzou offense went right back to work to drive down the field in short order and re-take the lead. A touchdown pass to Kendall Blanton from 16 yards gave the Tigers the 16-14 lead but a missed extra point attempt by McCann kept the lead at two points.

We’ll see if that comes back to haunt Missouri in the second half.

West Virginia’s Will Grier and Michigan’s Shea Patterson among Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award finalists

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College football’s award season is drawing near. The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award is in the spirit of the season with the announcement of 10 finalists for their award this season, honoring the top fourth-year quarterback in college football using a number of conditions including character, scholastic achievement and leadership qualities in addition to on-field success. And because the award is designed for seniors and fourth-year juniors scheduled to graduate with their class, you won’t find Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa on this list.

West Virginia quarterback Will Grier and Michigan’s Shea Patterson are among the list of candidates up for the award as finalists this season, it was announced on Thursday. Both players have certainly played a key role in guiding their respective teams into position to play for and win their respective conference titles with the final weeks of the season underway. UCF’s McKenzie Milton is in a similar position and was named a finalist for the award as well.

Joining those three are a pair of ACC quarterbacks with Syracuse’s Eric Dungey and NC State’s Ryan Finley. Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Washington State’s Gardner Minshew are representing the Pac-12 and Penn State’s Trace McSorley joins Patterson as the Big Ten representatives on the list of finalists for the award. Missouri quarterback Drew Lock is the lone SEC player named as a finalist and Boise State’s Brett Rypien is standing tall for the Mountain West Conference.

Past Golden Arm Award winners include Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, Stanford’s Andrew Luck, Boston College’s Matt Ryan and Notre Dame’s Brady Quinn. Rudolph was last year’s recipient of the award.

J.K. Dobbins races past Bryce Love as Bovada’s updated Heisman favorite

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Remember yesterday when we shared the initial 2018 Heisman Trophy odds from Bovada? Well, scrap that already because the people have come in with enough bets to warrant some quick changes to the Heisman odds. Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins soared up four spots to climb into the top spot on Bovada’s board after just 24 hours.

Dobbins was initially given 12/1 odds to win the Heisman Trophy, and the bettors went scrambling for those odds. Bovada’s updated odds see Dobbins as the way-too-early favorite with 6/1 odds. Tied for the best odds with Dobbins is another Big Ten running back, Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor. Taylor didn’t move up quite as dramatically to 6/1 after having 8/1 odds a day ago. The short-lived preseason favorite from Bovada and 2017 Heisman Trophy runner-up, Stanford running back Bryce Love, has slipped into third on the board with 7/1 odds. Alabama’s national championship hero, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, tied Love with 7/1 odds.

Some other notable dramatic changes include the addition of Missouri quarterback Drew Lock (25/1). Lock, the SEC’s top passer returning in 2018, was initially left completely off the board. He is the only newcomer to the updated odds from Bovada at this moment. The most notable drop in the odds was from Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver, who fell from 55/1 odds to 66/1. Most other drops were just by a few spots, including Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate falling from 9/1 to 14/1, West Virginia quarterback Will Grier falling from 12/1 to 16/1 and Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley dropping from 18/1 to 20/1.

Here are the updated Heisman odds as relayed by Bovada:

J.K. Dobbins (RB Ohio State) 6/1
Jonathan Taylor (RB Wisconsin) 6/1
Bryce Love (RB Stanford) 7/1
Tua Tagovailoa (QB Alabama) 7/1
Jake Fromm (QB Georgia) 12/1
Khalil Tate (QB Arizona) 14/1
Will Grier (QB West Virginia) 16/1
Jarrett Stidham (QB Auburn) 16/1
Kelly Bryant (QB Clemson) 18/1
Justin Herbert (QB Oregon) 18/1
Trace McSorley (QB Penn State) 20/1
Cam Akers (RB Florida State) 25/1
Rodney Anderson (RB Oklahoma) 25/1
Jake Browning (QB Washington) 25/1
Ryan Finley (QB NC State) 25/1
Drew Lock (QB Missouri) 25/1
McKenzie Milton (QB UCF) 25/1
Travis Etienne (RB Clemson) 35/1
Nick Fitzgerald (QB Mississippi State) 35/1
D'Andre Swift (RB Georgia) 35/1
Brandon Winbush (QB Notre Dame) 35/1
David Sills (WR West Virginia) 45/1
Ed Oliver (DL Houston) 66/1
Nick Bosa (DL Ohio State) 75/1

SEC-leading QB Drew Lock will return to Missouri in 2018

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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.