COLUMBIA — While the Missouri football team won on Saturday against Iowa State, the player they lost could be what the team remembers most when looking back at the game.
Tigers captain safety Pig Brown ruptured his right Achilles tendon with a little more than three minutes left in the game. The injury occurred on a 16-yard screen pass to Cyclones running back Alexander Robinson during which Brown made no contact with anyone.
Brown was carted off the field with a towel over his face and his right leg stabilized. Brown’s teammates hoped for the best just moments after the game with his prognosis still pending.
“We’re talking about a guy who plays his heart out with everything he has,” linebacker Brock Christopher said. “He puts a lot into this.”
There is no way to overstate Brown’s importance to the Tiger defense and team in general. Brown made his way onto the national stage with a clutch defensive performance in the season opener against Illinois, recovering three Illini turnovers that ultimately saved the game for the Tigers. He received his second Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Week award last week for his 14-tackle performance against Texas Tech on Oct. 20.
Last year, the Tigers lost defensive leader Brian Smith to a broken hip at the same point in the season and never seemed to recover. Smith’s 9.5 sacks were key in that team’s 7-1 start and were not easily replaced. The Tigers finished the season 8-5.
After the game, Lorenzo Williams and Will Franklin became visibly upset after comforting Brown, who many consider the emotional leader of the team.
“It hurts but people are going to have to step up to take his place,” Williams said.