GBI Magazine

Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 27, Digital 6

Gold and Black is a multi-platform media company that covers Purdue athletics like no one else.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 92 of 117

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 27, ISSUE 6 93 seat with the fans and maybe the administration." If Missouri is to make a jump, it'll likely have to do so behind what has the makings of a potentially lethal of- fense. Last season, Missouri averaged nearly 300 yards passing and better than 200 yards rushing per game, a combined total of 500.5 yards that ranked No. 1 in the SEC, well ahead of second-ranked Alabama. (The Tigers' scoring offense, however, ranked only seventh, at 31.4 points per game). Much of the skill returns on the offensive side, in- cluding receiver J'Mon Moore, who had 1,012 yards and eight touchdowns last season, plus underclassmen Dimetrios Mason and Jonathon Johnson and tight end Kendall Blanton, who might develop into a big-time weapon. And Missouri returns Damarea Crockett at running back following a season that saw him rush for 1,062 yards and 10 touchdowns, setting program re- cords for a freshman. The question is quarterback Drew Lock. In his sec- ond season as the starter, the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder threw for nearly 3,400 yards (10th in the nation) with 23 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, yet he was incon- sistent, as his 54.6 completion percentage might attest. "It really all revolves around Drew Lock," DeArmond said of the junior. "He made big strides from his fresh- man to his sophomore season. If he makes the same strides this year, he's going to be very dangerous. ... If Lock has a big year, Missouri will surprise a lot of peo- ple." Lock might have to make up for a defense that was shaky, at best, in 2016 and has a lot of questions to an- swer. Last season, Missouri allowed an SEC-worst 479.7 yards per game (118th of 128 teams in the country) and 31.5 points per game, better than only two other confer- ence teams. And Missouri lost its best player, Charles Harris, who had 61 tackles and eight sacks last season, then was drafted by the Dolphins in the first round of April's NFL Draft. Plus, the Tigers also graduated their top two line- backers, plus both starting cornerbacks. "But if you lose a lot of a defense that was terrible anyway, how much can it hurt?" DeArmond said. "Mar- cell Frazier should be the No. 1 defensive end and line- man Terry Beckner was a national recruit who has had each of his first two seasons cut short by ACL injuries. He'll anchor the middle. Missouri brought in three JUCO defensive tackles to help and is counting on a lot of young guys to step forward in the back seven this season." But end Nate Howard, who some had projected as a starter in the fall, likely won't be ready for the opener, after he was arrested in June on a drug charge. He was suspended indefinitely. That, in combination with a basketball arrest days later, prompted Frazier to declare that he would no longer be speaking to local media. Yet, Missouri hopes to overcome distraction and get into the postseason. "I wouldn't say hopes are high," DeArmond said, "but I would say most around Columbia are optimistic that this season should be a step in the right direction." — Kyle Charters

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of GBI Magazine - Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 27, Digital 6