COLUMBIA - Mizzou wide receiver Mookie Cooper took the field in a real game for the first time since December 1, 2018 when the Tigers faced Central Michigan on Saturday.

Cooper was ruled ineligible as a high school senior and then didn't play a down during his single season at Ohio State in 2020.

Mizzou fans finally got to see the former four-star recruit and Ohio State transfer in action in Saturday's season opener.

Cooper gaining confidence after Fall Camp injury

Cooper was limited in his reps, catching just 4 passes for 12 total yards.

He is still working his way back from a foot injury he suffered in Fall Camp.

Head Coach Eliah Drinkwitz was content with Cooper's performance on Saturday.

"I didn't see any rust...I thought he did a nice job of trying to avoid tackles and secure the football and wish we would've gotten him more space," Drinkwitz said.

Drinkwitz said his biggest concern wasn't with Cooper's performance, but with his health.

"I think my biggest concern was that he felt comfortable from his injury," he said.

Cooper said the injury caused him discomfort on the field.

"Coming off my injury, a lot of routes weren't too, I wasn't too comfortable in running," Cooper said.

Cooper said it was awkward for him to make cuts when running routes.

"I didn't want to go out there and give up and let the defense know I'm about to break down on a route just because I gotta raise up on my foot going a little awkward," he said.

The electric receiver from Trinity Catholic High School in St. Louis averaged nearly 30 yards per catch, amassed over 1,100 all-purpose yards and scored 27 total touchdowns in his junior year of high school, the last full season that he played.

Cooper said the first game of the season was all about getting his feet wet.

"It was about getting the feel of the game again, going out there and getting hit again for the first time since the state championship game my junior year," he said.

Wide Receivers Coach Bush Hamdan worked with a team sports psychologist to help Cooper clear his mind and focus on the present.

Cooper was clear about his mindset going into Saturday's game at Kentucky.

"My expectation is to play my role the best I can and go out there and execute," he said.

The Tigers travel to Lexington on Saturday to take on Kentucky at 6:30 p.m.

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