Mizzou clinches bowl eligibility with 33-28 win over Vanderbilt
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri's defense bent but didn't break during Vanderbilt's final drive, and the Tigers defeated the Commodores 33-28 to clinch bowl eligibility on Saturday.
Missouri kicker Tucker McCann had a chance to ice the game with 1:48 remaining, but the junior missed a 31-yard field goal to give Vanderbilt a last chance. The Commodores drove down to Missouri's 25-yard line, but couldn't convert a last-second heave to win the game.
"I was wishing it was over before then," Missouri head coach Barry Odom said. "But I had trust in what was called. I'm proud that our team ended up winning it on that last play."
In the end, the Tigers (6-4, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) are going bowling, and the Commodores (4-6, 1-5) will need to win both of their remaining games to guarantee bowl eligibility.
Vanderbilt had led all game until Missouri running backs Damarea Crockett and Larry Rountree III fueled a 99-yard drive to start the fourth quarter. The drive started after Vanderbilt failed to convert a 4th-and-goal opportunity on Missouri's 1-yard line.
"Not putting the ball in the end zone on fourth-and-1 was the most critical play in the ballgame for us," Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason said. "Not getting that done cost us momentum."
From there, the Tigers trekked down the field for a 14-play drive that lasted 5:38. Quarterback Drew Lock trotted three yards into the end zone to give Missouri its first lead of the game - 33-28 with 9:18 remaining.
Vanderbilt quarterback Kyle Shurmur outplayed Lock for the majority of the game. Shurmur tossed for 249 yards and three touchdowns on 24-for-35 passing. Lock, a former Heisman hopeful, passed for 253 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions on 22-for-33 passing.
Crockett bolted for 122 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries and Rountree added 92 yards on 21 rushes.
Vanderbilt's Ke'Shawn Vaughn ran for 182 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries, good for 12.1 yards per carry.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores showed promise on offense in the first half and proved that they could compete on the road. The victory would have immensely helped the team's bowl chances, but Vanderbilt can still clinch eligibility with wins in home games against Ole Miss and Tennessee.
Missouri: It wasn't as pretty as the Tigers' 38-17 victory over No. 13 Florida, but Missouri is officially going bowling. After a rough first half, the defense locked down and offense stepped up in the second half. Finally winning a close game should help the Tigers' spirits.
Vanderbilt returns home to play Ole Miss.
Missouri goes on the road to face Tennessee.