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Missouri holds off Vanderbilt 17-14 to escape SEC cellar

Eliah Drinkwitz
Posted at 7:04 PM, Oct 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-22 20:04:20-04

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Luther Burden III had touchdowns on the ground and through the air, Missouri kept Vanderbilt's offense off the scoreboard until late in the fourth quarter, and the Tigers held on for a nerve-wracking 17-14 victory Saturday.

Mike Wright, who took over when Commodores quarterback AJ Swann left with an illness, found Gamarian Carter for an 80-yard touchdown reception with 3:59 to go, and Vanderbilt's first offensive points in more than eight quarters gave Clark Lea's team a chance of ending a 24-game conference losing streak.

Vanderbilt (3-5, 0-4) got the ball back with just under 3 minutes to go and got a quick first down after a penalty. But a third-down throw to Ben Bresnahan that appeared to give the Commodores a first down was moved back a yard on review, bringing up fourth-and-1, and Ray Davis was stuffed at the line of scrimmage to effectively end the game.

Brady Cook had 211 yards passing with a touchdown and an interception, and Cody Schrader came off the bench to run 14 times for 84 yards, as the Tigers (3-4, 1-4 SEC) beat Vanderbilt for the sixth time in the last seven meetings.

The Tigers needed just six plays to take a 7-0 lead when Burden followed a 29-yard catch by Barrett Banister with a 35-yard TD reception. But that offensive efficiency was in short supply for both teams most of the game.

The Commodores missed a field goal wide left. Then, just before halftime, Swann threw an interception in the Missouri end zone. At one point in between, the two teams combined to go three-and-out on five straight drives.

Missouri finally ended the dubious streak when Burden scored from 10 yards out, and Harrison Mevis capped an expertly run 2-minute drill by tacking on a 39-yard field goal to give the Tigers a 17-0 lead at the break.

It took the Vanderbilt defense to finally put points on the board.

The Commodores had backed up Missouri early in the third quarter when Anfernee Orji, who already had picked off a pass, drilled Cook and knocked the ball loose. At the same time, safety C.J. Taylor had leaped Tigers running back Cody Schrader and was there to scoop up the fumble and trot into the end zone for the touchdown.

Vanderbilt had a chance to really seize momentum when the ensuing kickoff, caught in the wind like a sail, dropped short of the returners and the Commodores recovered. But their offense again went nowhere, and kicker Joseph Bulovas missed his second field-goal attempt, leaving the Tigers clinging to a 17-7 lead.

The Commodores had a chance late in the fourth quarter before the Tigers made one more defensive stop.

Vanderbilt struggled to throw the ball through gusting wind and struggled to run the ball as the Tigers kept creeping extra defenders into the box. In short, the Commodores' offense kept them from ever being in the game.

Missouri has likewise struggled offensively all season, failing to score more than 22 points in three straight games before Saturday. Nathaniel Peat in particular struggled on the ground, carrying 11 times for eight yards with a fumble.

The Commodores get a week off before playing South Carolina on Nov. 5.

The Tigers visit the Gamecocks next Saturday.