It still stings.

On the road to back-to-back SEC championships, Missouri collided with a large and unexpected speed bump in the form of Indiana.

The Hoosiers played to a 3-8 record the rest of the season, but on Sept. 20, IU beat Mizzou, 31-27, in Columbia.

The biggest culprit? The team’s offensive line. Starting guard Anthony Gatti tore his ACL early in the game, which didn’t help. But the group committed three false starts. A less-than-heralded defensive line knocked them around all game.

Junior center Evan Boehm, a Rimington Trophy watch lister, seemed most affected. He struggled to block, and with Indiana’s nose tackle breathing on him, he launched what I counted as 11 high snaps, a few of which quarterback Maty Mauk had to leap and stretch to control.

Mauk played a near-perfect first half despite chaos in the backfield, singlehandedly keeping the Tigers in the game. But the constant pressure eventually got to him, forcing him into a few mistakes and disrupting his masterpiece.

The aftershocks reverberated for weeks. The team reshuffled its offensive line, ending the experiment with Connor McGovern at right tackle, sliding him back to guard. The adjustment took a few weeks for the line to digest. Meanwhile, Mauk saw ghosts. In addition to an underreported (hidden?) shoulder injury, his play nosedived as he bailed from the pocket seemingly as soon as he caught every snap, displaying a strong lack of trust in the protection offered to him by his line.

Boehm, who has Truman the Tiger tattooed on his chest, felt tormented by his mistakes. A perfectionist, the word from Columbia is that some of the wayward snaps got into his head and forced him to overthink what should’ve been muscle memory. Offensive line coach A.J. Ricker said Boehm wasn’t “playing with the same motor” early in the season that he displayed in fall camp. It seemed Boehm was pressing in trying to reach some lofty goals, and in turn lost confidence.

He didn’t stay down long.

“Towards the end of the season, I’ve been reaching the goals that I’ve wanted to reach,” Boehm said, according to the Kansas City Star. “… After the Indiana game, it really clicked. I had that rough game, but I feel like after that game I took a step back and really evaluated what I was doing and what I needed to change. I figured it out and, since then, I think I’ve gotten better and I’m continuing to get better.”

With Boehm returning to himself and McGovern smashing defenders off his right hip, the Tigers run game excelled, carrying the team during Mauk’s downturn and becoming the team’s identity. Centering around that blocking tandem, Russell Hansbrough and Marcus Murphy ran for 2,008 yards and 14 touchdowns as the team recovered to win 11 games.

Boehm should be a serious All-SEC candidate this season, and the leader of an offensive line that should love to line up and bulldoze the players in front of them as run blockers. As one of the team’s leaders, and Mauk seem to create a locker-room culture that’s full of humor (search “Missouri beards mullets” or “Boehm Mauk pantsed”), but also a group that cares deeply about performing individually and winning as a team.

Missouri is back in the same position it was last offseason, with most everyone picking against the defending champions in the SEC East. But with Hansbrough back, Boehm and the line should ensure the team’s running game stays tough. If Mauk and the receivers can make strides before the end of August, the offense has a chance to be very effective this season.

If it is, Boehm deserves a lot of credit.