Missouri football: Handing out regular-season superlatives
Now that Missouri’s regular season has finished, it’s time to hand out awards. The Tigers, who many thought would not even get to 6 wins, made their season goals. Let’s see who won the team awards.
Team MVP and Offensive MVP: Tyler Badie
That’s obvious. Badie has carried this team all season. He broke the Mizzou rushing record with 1,604 yards, and he likely will be All-SEC.
Badie is the reason the Tigers have made it to a bowl game. He put this team on his back, especially with quarterback Connor Bazelak taking a step backward from his freshman season.
Badie has rushed his Tigers into a bowl game, and he is no doubt the team’s MVP. Where would Mizzou be without him?
Defensive MVP: Blaze Alldredge
The Rice transfer made an immediate impact, and he continues to. As this defense has evolved, so has he. He leads the team with 48 tackles and 4.5 sacks.
He is one of the main reasons that Mizzou’s defense, especially its run defense, has gotten better over the past month or so.
True Freshman of the Year: Chance Luper
When Mizzou could get the ball downfield, it was Luper who made a huge difference, catching passes for 203 yards, 1 touchdown and 9.7 yards per catch.
Whether Brady Cooper or Bazelak plays quarterback next season, he will have a weapon on his hands with this kid. He has the tools to be a great wide receiver in this league.
Transfer of the Year: Mookie Cooper
Cooper is another wide receiver who might become special with the right quarterback. He was just behind Luper with 194 yards receiving, adding 1 TD snd 11.4 yards per catch. He didn’t have a lot of opportunities, but when he did, he took advantage of them with some spectacular catches.
Most improved: The defense
As bad as it was in the middle of the season, it was much improved by the end. Remember, this defense gave up more than 700 yards to Tennessee, most of it on the ground.
Missouri was nearly dead last in Division I defense at 127th in the country. It moved up to 117th, which is not great, but it did show some improvement. It held Arkansas, Florida and even Georgia running backs to fewer than 100 yards.
Considering where it was earlier this season, that’s impressive.
Biggest surprise: Bazelak
It wasn’t a good surprise. Bazelak, the SEC Freshman of the Year last season, did not have a great year. He struggled all season and didn’t make the kind of impact that was expected of him. Though he did throw for 2,548 yards and 16 touchdowns, he also had 11 interceptions, including 1 against Arkansas.
Play of the Year: 2-point conversion against Florida
What a gutsy call by Eli Drinkwitz. Instead of putting the ball in the hands of his All-SEC running back, he let his struggling quarterback pull the trigger for the 24-23 overtime victory on Nov. 20.
And it worked. The Gators weren’t expecting Bazelak to make that pass, but he did, and it won the game. It had to be sweet redemption for the sophomore quarterback who struggled most of the season.
Win of the Year: Florida
This game was for all the marbles, and Mizzou pulled it off. The defense played hard, and the offense did what it needed to do.
The Tigers showed heart and guts in this victory, and they deserved to win. Now, with 6 wins in their pocket, they are going bowling. Plus this game ended another coach’s career — this time, Florida’s Dan Mullen.