Berkstresser Happy With First Career Start

On Saturday, red-shirt freshman QB Corbin Berkstresser made his first career start for Missouri in the Tigers' 24-20 win over visiting Arizona State.He spoke with about the game and living his dream as Mizzou's starting QB.

On Saturday, red-shirt freshman QB Corbin Berkstresser made his first career start for Missouri in the Tigers' 24-20 win over visiting Arizona State.

On the game, Berkstresser was 21-41-1 (51%) for 198 yards, which resulted in a passer efficiency rating of 86.91, but which drew praise from his head coach and his offensive coordinator and position coach.    He also had 18 carries for 25 yards and 1 TD rushing.

Missouri Offensive Coordinator and QB Coach David Yost told reporters on Monday that Berkstresser had graded out close to 90%.

"I thought he probably outperformed what kind of my expectations going in were, as a first-time starter against what I think is a really good Arizona State team,"  said Coach Yost.  

Berkstresser talked about how it felt to take the field as the starting QB at Missouri.

"It was pretty amazing just to go out there and step into James (Franklin's) shoes and do the best that I could, maybe not as good as he did, but just to get a win for this team so that we can get on a streak here, "  said Berkstresser.   "Stats really don't matter.  As long as we win, that's all that I care about."

Berkstresser was asked to evaluate his performance against Arizona State?  He said that on a scale of 1-10, that he gave himself a 5.  He was critical of himself for having thrown an interception, and he pointed out that he needs to get it into the end zone more often.

"He's very critical of himself,"    explained Coach Yost.   "I was very happy and pleasantly surprised with how well he played, and going into that situation and doing what he did.  I mean, I knew it then, but that's the first time that I've ever had a back-up QB win a football game.   Now, it's only happened a couple of times, which is a good thing.  But to have a back-up QB go in and beat a BCS team, that's, I think, a really good deal."

One area in which Berkstresser performed very well was in converting third down pass plays.  On the game, Missouri was 10-22 on third downs.  Berkstresser completed 9 of 17 passes for 121 yards on third downs, with 8 of those completions going for the first down.

Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel talked about how Berkstresser had played, albeit with a scaled back playbook.

"I thought it was a really good start for a young player, a red-shirt freshman, with an offensive line that is young also,"  said Coach Pinkel, speaking of Berkstresser's performance.  "It's not like we have a veteran offensive line up there.  And so, I really think he did some good things.  We did better on third downs in this game than we had done all year.   And, he made some great throws on third downs.   In fact, that's when he was at his best, when we needed some third down throws."

Berkstresser admitted to dialing it up a little bit for third downs.

"When you've got your back against the wall, like you've got to get this down, it's a little different than on first or second down, to where you keep driving it,"  explained Berkstresser.   "You get three downs, and on the third down, you have to move it, or else the drive is over, and the defense is back out there.  So, it's definitely a little more focus."    

Berkstresser said that he found out that he was starting about 5 minutes before game time.

"There were a few thoughts running through my head,"  explained Berkstresser.  "I've always dreamed of playing in front of Mizzou Nation.  My heart was beating a little fast until after that first hit."

"Coach Yost came up and gave me words of confidence,"  said the Missouri back-up QB.

On the season, Berkstresser is 26-46-1 (57%), for 258 yards (5.61 yards/passing attempt) and 1 TD passing (106.46 passer efficiency rating).   His season rushing statistics are 24 carries for 52 yards and 2 TDs.  He talked about his role going forward, and preparing to play every week.

"If I do have to go out there, I'll play to my best ability and the best that I could,"  said the red-shirt freshman QB.   "Preparation-wise, it doesn't change at all.  So, it's not really a different mind-set for me."  

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