The Missouri Tigers ended their five-game losing streak by controlling Vanderbilt and handing the Commodores a 26-17 loss.
It was perhaps the worst loss of the season so far for Vanderbilt. After staying in the game until late against Auburn the week before, the Commodores went into Saturday with a lot of optimism against a Tiger team that had lost five games in a row and 11-straight in the SEC. That optimism didn’t last very long after kickoff for the Dores, though.
Here are three reasons why Vandy blew it against Missouri.
Vandy’s pass offense was bad in all facets
Vanderbilt struggled to find a consistent passing game, and there wasn’t one particular reason for it.
Commodore quarterback Kyle Shurmur completed 17-of-29 passes for 252 yards and two interceptions. While his second pick — arguably the one hardest to stomach because it turned into a pick-six — can be called partially his fault, the first was a play that should never happen.
Shurmur stayed in the pocket with the defense bearing down on him, and he delivered a good ball to Jared Pinkney. The problem was Pinkney let the ball go right through his hands and off his facemask, right into the arms of Missouri defender Joe Burkett. Dropped passes were a problem for Vanderbilt all day, but none were as costly as Pinkney’s.
Not only did Vandy’s receivers struggle at times, but its offensive line was also suspect. The Tigers sacked Shurmur six times and had nine tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
Vandy’s defense couldn’t stop Missouri’s air attack
Vanderbilt’s passing game may have struggled, but Missouri’s showed little issue carving up what was a hot Commodore defense going into the game.
Quarterback Drew Lock finished with a 144 quarterback rating after completing 22-of-37 passes for 294 yards and two touchdowns. J’Mon Moore was too much for the Vanderbilt defensive backs, catching eight passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns, one of which was an 82-yarder on the first play after Vanderbilt failed on a fourth down conversion in the second quarter.
His other TD catch was one Vandy fans will surely be talking about all week, because defensive back Tre Herndon was called for defensive pass interference on what was a questionable call.
Vandy couldn’t take advantage
Missouri gave Vanderbilt plenty of chances, especially late in the game, to take the lead and control of the game. The issue was the Dores didn’t take advantage of any of their opportunities in the loss.
After trailing 19-0 in the second quarter, Vandy went on a 17-0 run to get within two points in the third quarter. The Dores had swung momentum in their favor and were primed to put their foot on the Tigers’ throat. But, after scoring their final touchdown with 9:39 left in the third quarter, the Commodores’ offense stalled the rest of the game.
Vanderbilt’s defense did everything it could to give the offense chances. Missouri scored just one touchdown in the second half and its other drives concluded with a missed field goal, fumble, punt and turnover on downs. Even with all of their opportunities to take control of the game, the Vandy offense could do nothing with the football late.
Against the 116th-ranked Missouri defense, the Dores’ last five drives consisted of four punts and one turnover on downs. On those five drives, they managed to gain just 88 total yards.
While Vanderbilt did enough on the defensive side of the ball to get the win, the inability of its offense to even get into scoring position when they most needed it at the end of the game was the key reason why the Dores were handed a loss Saturday.