On a sudden hot-streak, the Missouri Tigers (5-5) travel to play an SEC East showdown with the Vanderbilt Commodores (4-6) this Saturday. Vandy looks to nab their first SEC win this season, starting at 7:30 EST from Nashville. The game can be seen on the SEC Network.
It wasn’t but a month ago that Missouri was the laughingstock of the SEC. Now, fresh off wins against Idaho, UConn, Florida, and Tennessee by a combined score of 215-66, they’re suddenly an offensive juggernaut.
Of course, their competition is whether having down years or just never any good. But they’ve still taken care of business, with quarterback Drew Lock having thrown an incredible 35 touchdown passes. He’s over 3,000 yards passing now, and flashes a QB rating of 169.
The QB has had plenty of help from the run game the past two weeks, including a 433-yard barrage on the Volunteers last weekend. Ish Witter, Larry Rountree III, and Damarea Crockett (questionable for this game) all have 6.0 YPC of more.
Vanderbilt has gone the opposite way, having lost six of their last seven. All six losses were against SEC opponents, the one win coming against C-USA’s Western Kentucky.
When he’s gotten the proper amount of carries, RB Ralph Webb is making a difference again for the offense. It’s one that’s been scoring at higher rates than it did last year. But that doesn’t make much of an impact when the defense has clearly fallen off.
The Commodores are currently 8 ½-point underdogs at home.
The Tigers are a runaway train right now against weary competition. Nothing will change Saturday. And with the way they’re beating these team, at home and on the road, this one could get just as ugly.
Last year’s Vanderbilt could put up a fight with a sturdy defense. But even with such a defense, they did lose by nine last year to this team. And Mizzou has taken their game to another level since then.
Vanderbilt has the 115th-ranked rushing defense, letting up over 200 yards on the ground in all but one of their last seven games. Missouri is pumping out over 250 a game over this four-game winning streak, including 660 rush yards between the last two contests. That’s the worst scenario Vanderbilt could have, especially after Mizzou seemed like one of the few wins they could count on a month ago.
The Tigers are also more balanced than some of the other teams Vandy has lost to. After losing to Kentucky by 23, the Commodores are on the ropes. They fell into turnover troubles, and Mizzou has caused six of those combined over the last two weeks.
With the way Lock can sling it, Vanderbilt will be hard-pressed to find answer after answer. Webb is improving, but it hasn’t helped them stay in every game. QB Kyle Shurmur has gradually gone cooler and cooler in SEC play. Lock has two targets, J’Mon Moore and Emanuel Hall, who have matched their great talent with their play over this stretch. Moore especially is an NFL-caliber talent.
The spread may grow before Saturday, as it should. Mizzou could take this one by 20-plus.