COLUMBIA – Missouri defensive lineman Dominique Hamilton has been trying to step up every game, and going into the Baylor game Saturday, he felt prepared to play well.
That's part of the reason why the Tigers' 40-32 loss was especially painful.
"Man, this is probably the worst feeling I've felt," Hamilton said. "I mean the other three (losses) were equally as big, but really I came out on top of my game (Saturday), and I know a lot of other guys did, too. We prepared the hardest I think we've ever prepared. So this is just a shock. I was just sitting in (the locker room) for like 20 minutes, just sitting there."
In a game where the Bears threatened frequently, Hamilton made some important plays to try and contain them. With the Tigers up 27-23 early in the third quarter, Hamilton sacked Baylor quarterback Nick Florence for an eight-yard loss. Baylor had to settle for a field goal.
"I was feeling real good after that sack," he said. "That was the first sack of my career and, you know, it just hyped me up real bad. I was feeling it after that."
On the next defensive possession, Hamilton teamed up with defensive lineman Brian Coulter to hit Baylor running back Terrance Ganaway in the end zone for a safety.
"I thought we were on top right there, but we gotta just stop thinking like that," Hamilton said.
Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon noticed Hamilton's effort.
"I was so excited, man, he played a big game," Weatherspoon said. "I was very happy in Dominique's play. Coach Kul (defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski), I guess he must have ticked him off a little bit to make him play like that, but that was big for us."
Hamilton was second on the team Saturday with eight tackles. His effort came a week after fellow defensive lineman Aldon Smith made many significant plays against Colorado. Weatherspoon wasn't surprised.
"I think when you see other guys doing well, you definitely want a piece of that," he said. "If you're a competitor, that's how you always are. You see other guys do well, you'll be like, 'Yeah, good job.' (But also), you'll be like, 'Man, I wish I could do that.' That's what kind of competitors we have."
Still, there was disappointment in Hamilton's voice Saturday night. He said the satisfaction he can take from his performance is limited by the game's result.
"I felt like this is my best game I've played, but it doesn't even matter because we lost," he said. "So that's what I'm going to take from it. I've just got to keep getting better each week. I've got to do this next week against K-State."