Lawrence, Moore have tough act to follow
Missouri tailbacks Kendial Lawrence and De’Vion Moore realize
they have a tough act to follow.
After starting the season at the top of the depth chart, both
suffered injuries within the few first weeks and watched on the
sideline as sophomore third-stringer Henry Josey became the Big
12’s leading rusher.
After picking up 1,168 yards in 10 games, fifth most in Missouri
history for a single season, Josey tore the patellar tendon and
suffered tears to the medial collateral and anterior cruciate
ligaments in his left knee Saturday against Texas.
”I just went out on the field right when I saw it,” Lawrence
said. ”I felt like it was going to be something bad.”
Lawrence (broken fibula) and Moore (high ankle sprain) both
missed three games. Both are expected to see significant time in
the backfield Saturday when Missouri (5-5, 3-4 Big 12) plays Texas
Tech (5-5, 2-5) in the home finale.
Even as their playing time diminished, both players realized
anything could happen.
”Everyone knows this is a competitive sport,” Moore said.
”Each and every day you have to go out there and give it your best
and your all, just to show you can keep doing something
Lawrence made the most out of his first opportunity back.
Against the top rushing defense in the Big 12, he ran for a
career-high 106 yards on 18 carries. Texas had been allowing only
95 yards per game all season.
”It just gives you more confidence to go back out the next week
and work harder to try to do better than the week before,”
The 5-9, 190-pound junior from Rockwall, Texas, has 301 yards
rushing and three touchdowns, one TD fewer than last season when he
ran for 422 yards.
Moore has been limited to 8 yards rushing or fewer in each of
the four games he’s played since getting hurt in the second week of
the season at Arizona State. Last year, he led the school with 517
yards and eight rushing touchdowns in a tailback-by-committee
approach, but the fifth-year senior from St. Louis has only 39
yards this season, including 5 against Texas.
”You never know. All of a sudden you turn the corner, and right
now he’s right back into it,” coach Gary Pinkel said. ”And he’s
going to play and help us win. That’s what’s talked about being a
team player, knowing your role. And sometimes your roles
Texas Tech and Kansas, Missouri’s final two opponents in the
regular season, are the two worst rushing defenses in the Big 12.
Texas Tech allows 242.8 rushing yards per game while Kansas yields
Minus its best rusher, Pinkel contends the team won’t be quick
to change its offensive philosophy. Nearly 59 percent of Missouri’s
plays this year have been rushes.
”We’re fortunate to have two other real experienced players
back there,” Pinkel said. ”We certainly intend to run the
football. Bottom line is you’ve got to do it too. We’ll see where
Teammates are trying to process Josey’s injury. Several have
made the trip to his hospital room to check in.
”He’s doing all right,” wide receiver T.J. Moe said. ”He’s
just down. No one’s feeling good about it. I’m down about it. Good
friend, better guy, great dude. He’s such a fun guy, loves
football, loves life. It’s frustrating.”
Tigers quarterback James Franklin mentioned bringing Josey some
”I’m just hoping he’s OK,” Franklin said. ”That’s easily the
most important thing. I just want to make sure everything’s going
to be all right in his daily life.”
While doctors are confident Josey will make a full recovery, the
timeframe for his return has not been determined, and next season
may be in doubt.
After dealing with his own injury this season, Moore discussed
the most important tool in recovering.
”There’s really no words you can say,” Moore said. ”The only
thing you can do as far as an injury is to make sure the people
know that they have support. Having a supporting cast, people who
are going to push for you, people who are going to help you get to
where you want to be. Outside that, dealing with an injury is