Immediately after Mizzou’s Homecoming win over Ole Miss, Missouri football head coach Barry Odom stressed the importance of playing a full game and said he expected the next game (at Vandy) to come down to the final quarter. That really should have been coach speak out of respect of his opponent, because there was no sense a 5-1 team should be in a close game late against a 1-5 team. Yet that’s what we saw Saturday afternoon in Nashville.
The Tigers were chasing Vandy around the field and on the scoreboard and lost 21-14.
“I think we got out-coached, and I think we got out-executed the entire four quarters,” said Odom after the game.
The first glaring stat were the penalties. Mizzou now ranks 113th out of 130 Division I football teams averaging 71 penalty yards a game. On Saturday, the Tigers committed 12 penalties for 120 yards. The most egregious penalty should have benefitted the Tigers. Safety Tyree Gillespie was ejected for targeting on an extremely late hit to quarterback Mo Hasan in the later stages of the third quarter. The Vandy quarterback was well into a slide, in fact has nearly come to a stop when the Tiger defender drove his helmet directly into the head of Hasan. Getting his first start to jump start Vandy, Hasan was 7 of 11 passing for 120 yards and has run for another 38.
When he left the game, backup Riley Neal entered (he was benched for his poor play) and two plays later threw an interception to Cam Wilkins who returned it 42 yards to the Vandy six leading to a game-tying touchdown from Larry Rountree to even the game at 14-14. Yet midway through the fourth quarter, Neal led Vandy on a seven play, 65 yard drive to regain the lead with 8:57 to play. The Tigers missed a 40-yard field goal on their next drive and Vandy ran out the clock over the final four minutes to finish off the upset.
Vanderbilt held Missouri to a season-low in points with the Tigers 17th nationally averaging 38.8 points a game.
“When you come in an environment like this, you’re on the road you got to bring your energy and I feel like we just didn’t come ready to play,”said Mizzou QB Kelly Bryant.
The Tigers came in having scored 31 or more points in 11 straight games, the second-longest streak nationally behind only Oklahoma (16). That ended against a Vanderbilt defense that came in ranked 124th out of 130 FBS teams allowing 482.7 yards a game. Missouri was just 3-of-15 on third down conversions and Bryant was continually under pressure. He completed just 50% of his passes.