As Missouri ascends the rankings and polls, personal honors are rolling in for the players as well.
Monday was a big day in Columbia as no fewer than three Mizzou players were recognized for their performances Saturday in the Tigers’ 36-17 win over then-No. 22 Florida. And, as usual, a defensive lineman was in the mix.
Defensive end Michael Sam had three sacks (one of which forced a fumble), four tackles and a quarterback hurry against the Gators and was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week. This follows sophomore linebacker Kentrell Brothers’ selection as Defensive Player of the Week the week before. And Missouri D-linemen have been honored as the league’s Defensive Line Player of the Week four times already this season, including Sam twice, end Kony Ealy once and end Markus Golden once.
Sam leads the SEC with 9 sacks and 13 tackles for loss — numbers that rank second and fourth in the nation, respectively.
Considering the task he faced — making his first career start against a ranked team — and the result he produced, it’s no surprise the SEC selected redshirt freshman quarterback Maty Mauk its Freshman Player of the Week. Subbing for senior James Franklin, Mauk passed for 295 yards and a touchdown and ran for a score. He is the only quarterback to pass for more than 164 yards against Florida this season.
The Tigers’ other honoree Monday was sophomore placekicker Andrew Baggett, who kicked a school-record-tying five field goals against the Gators. He also scored 18 points, the most ever by a Mizzou kicker. As a result, Baggett earned “Star of the Week” status from the Lou Groza National Collegiate Placekicker Award and National Specialist of the Week honors from the College Football Performance Awards. Baggett is the leading scorer in the SEC.