He is not as fast as Brad Smith or as flashy as Damien Nash, but tailback Zack Abron continues to put up record numbers.
On a day when Smith overshadowed him with the best performance of his career, Abron’s season-high 139 yards on 25 carries and three touchdowns went almost unnoticed.
Abron’s 2-yard touchdown run with 14:57 to play tied him with Corby Jones atop Missouri’s career touchdown list with 38. The score also tied Abron with Jones for the most points in a career at 228.
Abron might have broken the records had he not left the game in the second quarter with a strained left Achilles. Abron returned in the third quarter and carried five times in the second half before going to the bench for the day.
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said Abron has improved with time.
“Zack is a great competitor,” Pinkel said. “You talk about a difference in a person, as a human being, as an athlete. Talk about being proud of a guy, he is a team player. He never ever talks about yards, all he wants to do is win.”
Because Abron doesn’t juke or outrun every defender for his yards, opponents often overlook him.
Senior center A.J. Ricker said Abron is one of the best competitors he has seen.
“He’s like a little bowling ball back there,” Ricker said. “He can run over you or go around you. As an offensive lineman, you love to block for a guy like that.
“He doesn’t get mentioned enough, that’s for sure.”
Abron is not letting the accolades and records get to him, though, for he wasn’t aware of his record-setting day until after the game.
“I haven’t even thought about that,” Abron said. “Somebody said I tied it, but I don’t even know.”
CENTER OF ATTENTION: Ricker tied Rob Riti and Mike Bedosky’s record of 42 consecutive starts at Missouri. Ricker has started every game in his career at MU dating to 2000.
Ricker said he values the record.
“It really means a lot,” Ricker said. “I definitely feel about 42 games deep. I just want to stay healthy and get better each week.”
BROKEN RECORD, BROKEN RECORD: Missouri broke myriad records in addition to Abron’s big day.
The Tigers’ offense set a season-high with 597 yards, passing its previous high of 509 against Eastern Illinois.
SOMETHING TO CROW ABOUT: Grammy winner Sheryl Crow served as Grand Marshal for the homecoming parade. Crow, who has won six Grammys, graduated from MU in 1984.
Missouri presented her with a jersey at the end of the first quarter. After receiving her jersey, Crow led the crowd in a chant of “M-I-Z, Z-O-U.”
Crow said it was great to return to her alma mater.
“It’s incredible,” Crow said. “I have never seen Mizzou in this way. They are so over the top and it’s so fun to be home for this game.”