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

different.”

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,”

Lawrence said.

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

change.”

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

250.9 yards.

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

that goes.”

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

fast food.

”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

extremely difficult.”