Tigers earn first SEC win, 26-17 over Vanderbilt
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri coach Barry Odom has finally reached a milestone that eluded him for months.
Drew Lock completed 22 of 37 passes for 294 yards and two touchdowns as Missouri defeated Vanderbilt 26-17 Saturday, marking Odom’s first Southeastern Conference win.
It also marks Missouri’s first SEC victory since Lock’s starting debut, a 24-10 victory over South Carolina on Oct. 3, 2015.
"I’m happy for our seniors and happy for our team," said Odom, who played linebacker for Missouri from 1996-99. "They’ve invested a lot and it hasn’t been pretty, but they continue to do everything that I’ve asked them to do. I’m glad they finally got a little bit of success for working through that."
Each team opened with a three-and-out before Damarea Crockett’s six-yard touchdown run gave Missouri (3-7, 1-5) a lead it would never relinquish. Crockett had 20 carries for 154 yards and the touchdown.
"He’s got a bright future," Odom said of Crockett. "We blocked well from the point of attack and Damarea, for a freshman, he’s gotten better every week. He works that way in practice."
J’Mon Moore caught eight passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns, including an 82-yard score with 9:50 remaining in the second quarter, and Johnathon Johnson added four catches for 73 yards.
Kyle Shurmur was 17 of 29 for 252 yards and two interceptions, one of which Missouri cornerback Aarion Penton returned 19 yards for his second career touchdown.
"I knew I had safety help, so I could go ahead and be aggressive on any underneath routes," Penton said in describing the interception. "I just used my keys, saw the three-step read, saw that the receiver was running a slant, and I just stepped in front of him and made a play."
C.J. Duncan caught five passes for 89 yards and Caleb Scott had three catches for 63 yards.
Darius Sims rushed seven times for 86 yards, Khari Blasingame had 14 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown, and Ralph Webb added 11 carries for 34 yards and a touchdown.
Missouri gained 481 yards despite a 13-minute differential in time of possession. It’s the Tigers’ highest yardage total in SEC play since Nov. 15, 2014, when they gained 587 yards en route to a 34-27 victory over Texas A&M.
Vanderbilt (4-6, 1-5) punted three times in the fourth quarter and was held to -14 yards.
Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason said his team struggled to get defensive stops for multiple reasons.
"I think it was a combination of rush and coverage," said Mason, who also serves as defensive coordinator for the Commodores. "To be honest, a couple of times they made some good throws versus tight coverage. A couple of times the coverage didn’t necessarily finish in the way we’re supposed to, and the pass rush didn’t get home. That’s something I’m going to have to get back, look at, and fix quickly because we need to move on."
Missouri missed out on at least eight points due to place-kicking issues. Freshman Tucker McCann missed back-to-back extra point attempts in the first half before missing field goal attempts from 55 and 21 yards. Following a four-yard touchdown pass from Lock to Moore with 8:39 remaining, Odom called on Ben Tesson, who drilled the attempt, giving the Tigers a two-score lead.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores struggled on third down, converting on just 3 of 14 attempts, while also failing their only fourth down conversion attempt. Missouri converted 10 of 19 third down attempts, including 7 of 11 in the second half.
"That’s on us as players," Shurmur said of Vanderbilt’s third down struggles. "The coaches had a great game plan, put us in a great positon the whole entire week, and it’s on us as players to do better on third down especially."
Missouri: The Tigers brought the pressure defensively, racking up six sacks and nine tackles for losses. Charles Harris made eight tackles — three of them for losses — 2 1/2 sacks and a forced fumble, and Marcell Frazier added 1 1/2. Vanderbilt amassed 411 yards, the lowest opponent yardage total Missouri’s defense has allowed in six games.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores host Ole Miss (4-5, 1-4 SEC) next Saturday. The Rebels defeated Vanderbilt 27-16 last season in Oxford.
Missouri: The Tigers visit Tennessee (7-3, 3-3 SEC) next Saturday. The Volunteers defeated Missouri 19-8 last season in Columbia.