Passing the Torch: Faces of Missouri Football’s Past and Future Shine in Senior Day Victory

An era of football for the Missouri Tigers is quickly coming to an end.

Mizzou celebrated Senior Day on Saturday, sending the latest generation of Tigers to the notorious Rock M to take away a piece of Mizzou history.

“That was the main goal of this week, getting the seniors their rocks,” said wide receiver Luther Burden III.

The bye included a 45-14 win over the New Mexico State Aggies, who came in as fellow four-win players looking for a season-defining memory. Instead, the Tigers gave a taste of victory in Columbia before a crucial Battle Line rivalry game against the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Arkansas, who secured a bowl berth with a 42-27 win over No. 14 Ole Miss, will look to deny the Mizzou seniors a final bowl game Friday afternoon. However, without the Senior Day win, which included high-profile performances from Mizzou’s past and future, the Tigers would not have had an opportunity to play in a season-defining game.

Banister, fellow seniors light Farout Field for their final Saturday

The Tigers honored 22 seniors ahead of Saturday’s game, each with their own story and Mizzou story.

Perhaps one of the more memorable of those trips is Barrett Banister, who has been home to Columbia for the past six seasons. A native of Fayetteville, Arkansas, Banister has become a fan favorite with the Tigers while also being one of the most reliable receivers, especially on third and fourth downs.

“It’s just chemistry,” said quarterback Brady Cook. “(I’m) super excited for him. I really wanted to get it to 100 (receiving yards).”

In true storybook fashion, the recipient saved his career best for one of his last games. Banister caught seven passes for a career-high 91 yards, including an important fourth down reception in the first quarter and two third down receptions in the second quarter. Banister would have finished his first 100-yard play but for a fourth-quarter penalty to nullify a 23-yard gain.

Banister’s entertaining evening ended in the fourth quarter when a pass from freshman quarterback Sam Horn put the veteran receiver into an opposing player and knocked him down. He was benched afterwards but Drinkwitz had no post-game update.

In addition to the senior celebration, a quartet of defensive players with strong performances built on their legacy.

On the defensive line, Darius Robinson and DJ Coleman combined eight tackles, including three tackles for losses. Coleman’s tackles for losses continued his streak of eight straight games with at least .5 tackles for losses, while Robinson posted a season-high with four tackles.

“I think[DJ Coleman]is an example of how to seize every opportunity,” Drinkwitz said. “His performance on the field was really, really good… He’s a guy who’s on a mission right now.”

Linebacker Devin Nicholson also added five tackles that were high for the season and added a quarterback rush in the second quarter that forced New Mexico State to a third and long. Meanwhile, defensive back Jalani Williams made his first career interception in the fourth quarter.

Although their names didn’t appear that often in the box score – Isaiah McGuire, Martez Manuel, Tauskie Dove, Nathaniel Peat, Trajan Jeffcoat, Connor Wood, Sean Koetting, Jake Hoffman, Tyrone Hopper, Trenton Sederwall, Jack Abraham, Bobby Lawerence, Kibet Chepyator, Richard Taylor, Zeke Powell and DJ Bullard were also honored before the game.

A return to Mizzou via the COVID year waiver is possible for some of these names. Others play their final home game on Friday and begin passing the torch to the next generation of Tigers.

Burden, Carnell among freshmen poised to lead the next generation of Tigers

Amid the Seniors’ Day celebrations, a few faces representing the future of the Missouri Tigers’ football program offered a glimpse of what the years to come may hold.

Catching three passes for 35 yards and two touchdowns, Luther Burden III used his explosiveness on the open field to show what Mizzou fans can expect in the future. The true freshman receiver has had eight total touchdowns this season, but knows he can make a bigger impact.

“I honestly felt like I could have done better, but I mean, eight touchdowns is cool,” Burden said.

Burden’s energetic personality bodes well for next season, especially considering he’s set to become one of the team’s leaders with the departure of Tauskie Dove and Barrett Banister from the wide receiver room.

“(Dove and Banister) are trying to put me in a leadership role because when they’re gone I have to step up and take control next year,” Burden said.

Defender Daylan Carnell is facing a similar situation after Martez Manuel decided to step away from Mizzou football after the season. The redshirt newcomer has played under Manuel’s wing in defense for the reformed Tigers and has shown he has what it takes to claim the ‘STAR’ position next year.

Carnell, who forced a stoppage of the pass in the second quarter, showed his athleticism and speed in a 40-yard interception that was returned for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

“We’ve seen that formation in practice all week,” Carnell said. “As soon as No. 3 (Jamoni Jones) ran down the incline, hit No. 2 (Ta’ir Brooks), the ball was there waiting for me.”

Ryan Hoerstkamp joined the throng of freshmen with an impressive evening, bringing his first career reception into the end zone for a 32-yard touchdown. His result showed what the tight end position could look like going forward, which is a welcome sight for Mizzou fans who question the position’s usefulness on offense.

“There are a lot of people talking things and saying things,” said Hoerstkamp. “We know what we can do.”

The blowout win allowed several newcomers to enter the field, including the highly acclaimed Sam Horn, who played a series. Drinkwitz said many of those players didn’t take the opportunity, which was worth it, stressing that more work needs to be done with the class.

For the most part, however, those that took the field offered a glimmer of hope for the future. With the likes of Cody Schrader, Kris Abrams-Draine, Brady Cook and Jaylon Carlies constantly popping up, it’s safe to say that Mizzou has a core of past, present and future Tigers who will test Arkansas on Friday.