Against Arizona State, Missouri junior TB Jared Culver 5'11" 250 made his first career reception, an 8-yard gain on a swing pass, while Henry Josey caught his breath on the sideline. Against Western Illinois, Culver had 11 carries for 86 yards, including a 60-yard run and an 8-yard TD run, to cap off Missouri's opening drive of the second half. Culver talked about his 60-yard run.
"I got to the corner," began Culver. "And, when I went to turn up, Marcus Lucas had a great block. So, when I went inside of (his block), I just saw green daylight. I gave it all of the speed I had, and then I realized I probably wasn't going to make it. So, I gave a little stiff-arm to a couple of guys. When I got up (after being tackled), I was a little upset. Then, I realized that I was gassed, so I went to the sideline. It was fun! I think it was a pretty nice run."
Culver is a walk-on, who has seen action the past two seasons on special teams, and who entered the season listed as the number six TB.
Earlier this season, he came in to block in short-yardage situations. But, the injuries to three of Missouri's TBs have given this ultimate team player an opportunity to carry the football.
"It was just unbelievable! I remember the first time I actually stepped on the field on special teams, I was in awe," said a smiling Culver.
"This was just another one of those experiences, where I never really thought I'd be carrying the ball like that for Mizzou. So, it was pretty nice!"
Culver was a three-sport athlete who starred in football, basketball, and baseball at Downers Grove (IL) South. He wanted to play college football, but he hadn't received any scholarship offers, so he decided to play baseball at Heartland Community College, in Bloomington (IL).
After one semester, Culver decided that college baseball "wasn't for me". He still wanted to play football. So, he transferred to Missouri. Coach Ford had recruited him out of high school, and Missouri had wanted him to walk on. He had stayed in touch with the Missouri staff.
"My heart was still in football," explained Culver. "(Missouri) welcomed me with open arms."
"Every day I wake up, I (realize) that I love this game," said Culver. "It has to be (that way). I love this game so much that I'll do whatever I can to play it. I also understand that I can't play it forever, but……………………………."
That last statement just trailed off for Culver, as he seemed unwilling to look that far ahead.
"College football is for those who love to play football," said Culver. "If you don't love it, then it's not for you. You seriously have to love the game. We're here before the sun comes up, and most days we're here long after it goes down. It's the love of the game that keeps me going day in and day out. I'm blessed to be able to play, day in and day out. …………………………… I'm going to keep playing football as long as I can."
Heading into the game this week at Oklahoma, Culver is listed second on the depth chart. He's preparing to carry the football this week, should the staff call on him to do so. He'll do whatever they ask of him, whatever he can to play the game he loves.