Lock passes Mizzou to rare road win at UConn
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. • Drew Lock versus Connecticut’s defense was supposed to be the mismatch of all mismatches.
Against a defense that’s allowed more passing yards than any other team in the country, Lock went into Saturday’s game on the best streak of his career — and continued his strong October with another brief but history-chasing performance as the Tigers won 52-12.
In less than three quarters of action, Lock completed a career-best 31 of 37 passes for 377 yards and five more touchdowns, giving him 28 for the season and matching the FBS leader as the Tigers (3-5) now head into their final four-game stretch. Lock’s completion percentage (83.8) also marked a career high.
With his five touchdown passes, Lock moved into a tie with Chase Daniel’s 2006 season for third place on MU’s list for single-season TD passes. With at least four games to play — maybe a fifth if the Tigers can parlay their recent success into SEC play and qualify for a bowl — only Daniel has thrown for more TDs in season for the Tigers — 33 in 2007 and 39 in 2008.
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For the locals, Mizzou’s lopsided victory ruined an otherwise delightful New England weekend as unseasonably warm weather greeted the Tigers in East Hartford, with sunshine popping off the brilliant fall colors around town. The Tigers were in unfamiliar territory, playing farther east than any other game in program history — though Mizzou comes back this way in 2021 to play at Boston College.
After a five-game losing streak seemed to doom the Tigers’ season, Barry Odom’s team will travel as far as necessary to compile wins this fall. Saturday’s outcome gave Mizzou consecutive victories for the first time under Odom and snapped an 11-game losing streak in road games. The Tigers’ last win on an opponent’s home field came Sept. 12, 2015 at Arkansas State.
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If Odom’s team has established anything this year, it’s a capacity to beat overmatched teams outside of the Power Five. In two seasons under Odom, the Tigers are 5-1 against teams outside the major conferences and 2-12 in the rest of their games. From here, it’s back to SEC play, albeit against four teams limping toward the finish line, a lineup of Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Arkansas. The Gators (3-4) will arrive in Columbia Saturday on a free fall, having lost three straight, including Saturday’s 42-7 loss to Georgia.
Connecticut (3-5) went into Saturday’s game on a two-game win streak but had allowed an FBS-worst 373.4 passing yards per game. As he did last year, Lock has feasted on Mizzou’s weakest competition this fall but showed promise in back-to-back road losses at Kentucky and Georgia. On Saturday, he misfired deep for Emanuel Hall on his second pass attempt, then completed his next 14 attempts to seize control of the game.
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Mizzou’s first possession ended with a safety when long snapper Drew Wise’s snap sailed high over punter Corey Fatony and out of the end zone, but MU’s offense barely stubbed its toe the rest of the half, starting with Lock’s 4-yard TD to J’Mon Moore. Lock later tossed touchdown passes to tight end Albert Okwuegbunam for 4 and 9 yards, giving him five TD passes to the redshirt freshman in the last two games and seven for the season.
• SCHEDULE/RESULTS: 2017 Mizzou football
The Tigers added a touchdown run by Ish Witter and two more TD passes by Lock — a 13-yarder to J’Mon Moore to open the third quarter and then a 72-yard catch and run by Johnathon Johnson. With his five touchdown passes, Lock ended the night tied with West Virgnia’s Will Grier for the FBS lead with 28. Lock’s night ended late in the third quarter when Odom lifted him for backup Micah Wilson, who added to the onslaught with a 22-yard touchdown run.