SHREVEPORT, La. –- For Zach Strom, staying perfect turned out to be too good to be true.
Strom, Missouri’s junior deep snapper, had never made a game-day mistake before Wednesday. In the second quarter, Strom’s first miscue appeared to unleash Arkansas.
Missouri led 7-6 when cornerback Ahmad Carroll sacked quarterback Brad Smith at the Tigers’ 48.
On fourth down, Strom snapped the ball about 2 feet over junior punter Brock Harvey’s head. Harvey was standing at about the 35 and chased the ball, running side by side with Arkansas safety Bo Mosley. Harvey and Mosley dove for the ball and Harvey prevented Mosley from picking it up and running into the end zone.
After the game, Strom seemed to be in shock about making his first mistake in his team’s first bowl game in five years.
“I just failed it,” Strom said. “It won’t happen again.”
Harvey said he did not blame Strom for the mistake because he knew it was out of the ordinary.
“He’s been perfect ever since I’ve known him,” Harvey said. “Like I was telling him, it’s part of the game, and I don’t ever see it happening again with Zach.”
The Razorbacks started at Missouri’s 3, and scored three plays later. Quarterback Matt Jones juked senior cornerback Terrence Curry on his 1-yard trip into the end zone.
On the next drive, Missouri went three-and-out and the Razorbacks received the ball at Missouri’s 41. On first down Arkansas tailback Cedric Cobbs ran to the left untouched and scored.
At the half, Missouri trailed 21-7.
Strom, a Hickman graduate, said there was nothing special about the situation where he missnapped.
“It was just a normal play; I just let down my teammates and seniors, and my coaches,” Strom said.
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said Strom’s miscue was atypical, whether in a game or practicing.
“I don’t think he’s ever done that in practice in the three years I’ve been here,” Pinkel said.
Players said that Pinkel emphasizes preventing errors in practice.
The way our coaching staff is, they drill us with making critical errors: don’t make them,” senior wide receiver Thomson Omboga said.
Strom said the mistake would not repeat itself.
“We work on it every day, and to be able to sit there and snap 30, 40 balls in a row and go two years without being off, and have something like that happen in a game like this is inexcusable, and I won’t ever let it happen again,” Strom said.