In year three of the Barry Odom era at the University of Missouri expectations are higher and patience is growing thin. When future NFL prospects Drew Lock and Terry Beckner Jr. announced their decision to stay in school for their senior year, Odom knew he didn’t have any excuses to underachieve.
Fast forward to November and the Tigers are a disappointing 0-4 in SEC play (4-4 overall), including two heart-crushing defeats at South Carolina and at home vs. #12 Kentucky. Both losses were decided on the final play of the game.
With the fanbase distraught and the media being critical, it was no secret that a visit to the Swamp to face the #11 Florida Gators was the final chance for both Odom and Lock to obtain a signature victory.
“We’ve lost to #1, #2, South Carolina last drive, and Kentucky last drive. It’s time for us to go get it (a win),” Odom said in the tunnel before kickoff on Saturday.
That’s exactly what Mizzou did as they dominated the #11 Florida Gators from start to finish in a 38-17 upset victory on the road.
Drew Lock finished 24 of 32 for 250 yards and three touchdowns, in what was likely his last chance to beat a ranked opponent as starting quarterback.
“This feels really good,” Lock said postgame.
Lock’s favorite target, Emanuel Hall, returned to the lineup and led all receivers in yards with 77, that included a four-yard touchdown strike.
Missouri’s offense was a balanced attack as 221 yards came on the ground led by Damarea Crockett who had 114 yards on 21 carries, and a touchdown. Larry Rountree III started the scoring with a 27-yard dash to the endzone late in the first quarter.
Albert Okwuegbunam caught a 22-yard touchdown pass on wide-open seam route to put Missouri up 14-3 early in the second, however he left the game due to a shoulder injury and did not return. After the game he was quoted describing the injury as “not too serious,” even though his arm is in a sling.
Freshman Kam Scott added a 41-yard touchdown catch from Lock to put the Tigers ahead 28-10.
Missouri’s defense stepped up to the challenge and stifled the Florida attack, who switched their quarterback mid game from Feleipe Franks to Kyle Trask in a desperate attempt to ignite their offense.
The victory ended a four-year drought in wins versus ranked opponents, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for Odom and company.
“These situations a lot of time in sports mirror how your life can go,” Odom said. “You’re going to be faced with adversity. You’re going to be faced with hard times. This game was decided long before the ball was kicked off.”
Missouri should be favored in their final three contests vs. Vanderbilt, at Tennessee, and at home against Arkansas. Eight wins would prove that the program is trending in the right direction, and that Barry Odom is the right man for the job.