T.J. Brunson: How South Carolina’s defense can stop Missouri’s up-tempo QB Drew Lock
Drew Lock grinned at the question, a sure sign he was about to play along.
Drew, if a water bottle gets thrown at you this weekend, what are you going to do with it?
“Nah, I probably won’t drink it this week,” the Missouri quarterback told reporters on Tuesday in Columbia, Mo. “But I’m all for it, I’m all in for all the water bottles being thrown this week. I’ll just start a little collection next to the bench and by the end of the game, we’ll see how many water bottles we have.”
When Lock and the Tigers (3-1, 0-1 SEC) visit South Carolina (2-2, 1-2) on Saturday, it’ll bring Lock back to the home of his first viral moment.
The Tigers had just scored a second quarter touchdown to even their game with the Gamecocks on Nov. 5, 2016, when a water bottle rained down from the USC student section. It got Lock’s attention when it splashed near the then-sophomore’s cleats. But instead of kicking it away or ignoring the prop all together, Lock picked it up and took a swig.
After the game – a 31-21 Carolina win – Lock was hardly offended by being the a target of a boisterous fan. He seemed to embrace it. “I thought I’d try to have a little fun, show a little extra emotion for guys and, hopefully, get us riled up and have some fun,” he said at the time.
Approaching his return trip to the other Columbia, it’s clear Lock is a Williams-Brice Stadium fan.
“My first time there was awesome, sophomore year,” Lock said Tuesday. “I’d say it’s top one or two places to play. I have a blast going there. Honestly, it’s like do you want a place that cool to play? Because everyone’s going to come in jazzed up every time you play South Carolina because you get a different type of feeling when you step into that stadium.
“You try to find that feeling every single week, but Williams-Brice definitely brings it out of you. I know a couple of the young guys that are going with us on this trip are going to be pretty jazzed up, so it’ll be my job to kind of bring them back in and not let Sandstorm take over.”
Lock, a potential No. 1 pick in this spring’s NFL Draft, is 1-2 against South Carolina in his career. He’s thrown for 683 yards against the Gamecocks with four touchdowns to four interceptions. He made his first college start against USC on Oct. 3, 2015. His cousin, Emma Lock, is a member of Carolina’s volleyball team.
The connections make Saturday’s matchup more than a run-of-the-mill league game for Lock.
“I definitely believe that,” Lock said when asked if USC feels like a rival to Mizzou. “I think I’ve felt that in every game that I’ve played against these guys since I’ve been here. I think it’s also really cool, both Columbias. With my cousin being there as well, there’s a family feud between us already.
“I think it’s definitely going to become something. I think it’s becoming something. I think you’re going to see that Saturday, which makes us excited, it makes me excited. I kind of like chippiness, I like a little edge. I like going out there and talking a little bit. Not talk it up to where it gets us out of our game, but I could definitely see a little bit of that happening this weekend.”
Asked if he echoes Lock’s feeling about South Carolina as a Missouri rival, Tigers coach Barry Odom said, “If Drew wants it to be that, then let’s do it. I’m all in. Let’s go. If that makes us play better, then absolutely.”