FROM THE SIDELINE: YOUNG QBs SHINE
By Charlie Clarke
Tens of thousands of Missouri football fans walked out of Faurot Field with devastated facial expressions on Saturday. Barry Odom paused several times during his postgame press conference to fight off tears. Many Mizzou players strolled off the field with their heads down. The mood was somber as Saturday night turned Sunday morning in Columbia.
Saturday was gut-wrenching for Missouri fans. But for pure football fans and SEC fans, the Mizzou vs. Georgia show was spectacular. Quarterbacks Drew Lock (So.) and Georgia’s Jacob Eason (Fr.) each displayed their prowess in front of the 57,098 fans that packed Memorial Stadium and so many more who watched across SEC country.
Lock played fearlessly, leading the Tigers to a 10-play, 72 yard scoring drive that lasted just 2:07 to start the game. The sophomore quarterback was unfazed by Georgia's pass defense, which ranked first among all FBS schools in 2015.
The two SEC East foes traded punches and entered halftime with Georgia leading 21-20 over the Tigers.
Eason threw his first and only interception to open up the second half. Mizzou quickly scored to grab a 27-21 lead. The score remained that way through the majority of the second half. The Bulldogs picked off Lock three times, but couldn’t take advantage of Lock’s mistakes, missing a pair of field goals.
With 1:29 in the fourth quarter, Eason had his first big SEC moment. The freshman QB threw a touchdown strike to Isaiah McKenzie on 4th and 10 to give Georgia a 28-27 lead.
Starting at it’s own 30 yard line, Mizzou attempted to retaliate, but J’Mon Moore fumbled an 18-yard reception into the hands of Georgia’s Geo Juwuan Briscoe. The fumble iced the game and the Bulldogs walked out of Faurot Field victorious and a perfect 3-0.
When it was all said and done, Lock finished with 376 yards and 3 TD's. Eason, Lock’s counterpart, finished with 308 yards and 3 TD's. The two young QB’s waged an offensive war in a game consisting of two of college football's premier defenses.
Both Lock and Eason posted ‘good’ performances earlier this season. Eason threw for 131 yards and a touchdown on 8-12 passing against a subpar North Carolina defense. Lock erupted for 450 yards and 5 TD’s against Eastern Michigan in week two.
But week three was the big test for both Lock and Eason, who each went up against what could be, in the end, their toughest matchups all year.
The future of the quarterback position for both Georgia and Missouri is bright. Saturday’s spectacle proved nothing less.