It had been a while since Chris Black found the end zone.
So long that when he was asked about it on Monday, it took him a little while for the University of Missouri redshirt senior wide receiver to come up with the answer.
“Last time I scored a touchdown, I think it was my redshirt freshman year,” Black said. “It’s been a while since I touched the end zone.”
Black arrived at Mizzou in January as a graduate transfer from Alabama — he had 25 receptions for 290 yards and two touchdowns and one rushing touchdown in three seasons before suffering a season-ending ankle injury last fall — with the hope that he could make the most out of his final season of college football.
The 6-foot, 190-pounder was able to do that against West Virginia.
Black tied his career high with six catches for a career-best 102 yards and scored a touchdown on an 8-yard reception from sophomore quarterback Drew Lock in the fourth quarter.
“It meant a lot,” Black said of the 100-yard game, which was the second of his college career and first since the 2014 season. “I’ve been waiting on moments like that for a long time. You can expect a lot more of that.”
The touchdown was Black’s first since scoring on a 31-yard run in Alabama’s 49-0 win over Chattanooga back on Nov. 23, 2013. He scored three times that season for the Crimson Tide, who were the two-time defending national champions and won their first 11 games before losing to Auburn and then Oklahoma.
“It felt great,” Black said of his first touchdown for Missouri. I feel like I have a nose for the end zone. When you get in the red zone, you really have to kind of turn that on and that’s one of my abilities or something I do well, I find the end zone.”
Black had a conversation with Lock on the sideline late in Saturday’s game. The quarterback then looked for him more late and Black came through with a couple catches and that long-awaited TD.
“As a receiver, me, I want the ball,” Black said. “I think that’s how you have to be as a receiver. You have to have that confidence, you have to have that dog in you, especially in the red zone. You have to have a nose for the end zone and I think I have that.”
The Tigers need that.
The season-opening loss at West Virginia was disappointing, but the play of Black and junior wide receiver J’Mon Moore (eight catches for 104 yards) was encouraging after the lack of production from the wide receiver group a year ago.
Black said the loss was a step forward for the offense.
“Like the coaches have preached to us, there’s a lot of great things, a lot of things to be proud of, on that film,” he said. “So we’ll continue to get better.”
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