Missouri Tigers vs Vanderbilt Commodores: REALLY?


The Missouri Tigers offense continued to sputter during the Tigers’ 10-3 loss to Vanderbilt, ruining another great defensive showing. Frankly, this game was frustrating to watch. The only chance the Tigers offense really had was a red-zone stand in the final two minutes. However, the inexperience and lack of physical skill of the Tigers offense sank the drive.

The drive wouldn’t have been as successful as it was if Vanderbilt had not been called for defensive interference on fourth-and-24, setting up a first-and-10 on the 30 yard line. Missouri wide receiver Wesley Leftwich then caught a 17-yard pass from QB Drew Lock to set up first-and-10 on the 13. Lock then overthrew his receivers on four straight plays to stop the drive.

The theme of overthrown receivers pops up again and again throughout the night, and while I might have ragged on Drew Lock a bit, it wasn’t entirely his fault. The Tigers’ receiving corps simply could not catch throws that Lock made, and when they did the pass was frequently dropped. Most guilty of these faults are Wesley Leftwich and Emmanuel Hall. Leftwich simply could not get to passes that a better receiver would’ve not only caught, but also possibly taken to the house. He also dropped multiple passes throughout the night. Hall dropped a long shot pass from Lock late in the game that could have kept the drive alive.

That pass very well could have ended up moot anyway; the Tigers were an absolutely abysmal 0-19 on third down, and had a grand total of 10 first downs. If that’s how the Tigers will fare against the Vanderbilt defense, God help them against teams like Mississippi State and BYU. The offensive line was not without fault either. Vanderbilt’s defense sacked Drew Lock four times for a total loss of 26 yards, and at the most inopportune of times: all but one of the sacks came on third down.

With the offense faltering, it came down largely to the special teams to pick up the slack. In this aspect, Missouri’s special teams failed spectacularly. Despite making a 35-yard field goal in the second quarter, kicker Andrew Baggett missed another kick in the third quarter that could’ve cut Vanderbilt’s lead to one.

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But the biggest special teams screw up belongs yet again to kick returner Cam Hilton. In a sordid repeat of last week’s game against Georgia, Hilton fumbled a kick return on the Missouri 28, putting Vanderbilt in position to score. Unlike the Georgia game last week, the Tigers got lucky. Vanderbilt kicker Tommy Openshaw missed a 32-yard field goal with about two minutes to play.

Kentrell Brothers was the big defensive star this week, adding 12 tackles to his FBS-leading total. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The one bright spot this week, as is tradition, was the defense. LB Kentrell Brothers added 12 tackles to his nation-leading total, and if not for a reversed call, DT Rickey Hatley would’ve been the source of a touchdown after returning a “fumble” by Vanderbilt QB Kyle Shurmur. The call was reversed after it was determined the “fumble” was in fact an incomplete pass. The defense also did a good job of keeping Vanderbilt out of the red zone; the Commodores’ only red zone opportunity outside of the missed kick came in the second quarter, but RB Ralph Webb punched it in with a one yard run.

The defense can only do so much, however. This week was a particularly low point for the Tigers offense. Gary Pinkel should look to spend the bye improving his offense so that they don’t get slaughtered by Mississippi State’s defense in two weeks time.

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