Vanderbilt Report Card: Missouri

Vanderbilt defeated Missouri 19-15 on Saturday.'s D.T. Yates grades every aspect of Vandy's performance versus the Tigers.

Passing Offense: B-

Things didn't go well for the 'Dores who started out with a sack on Jordan Rodgers for a loss of 9 yards and a false start penalty on their opening drive.  On the next series a pair of Rodgers passes to Jordan Matthews fell incomplete before he hit Jonathan Krause for a 4-yard completion for another three-and-out series.  

On their first touchdown drive, Rodgers completed a 10-yard bullet to Jordan Matthews who displayed his physicality dragging a Mizzou defender along the way.  Later in the drive, Chris Boyd caught a spectacular, one handed grab, good for 29 yards.

Matthews was a force throughout the night matching a career high 9 catches for 91 yards.  The junior receiver came through with receptions from Rodgers on six of the Commodores 17 first downs.

After crossing into Mizzou territory in the second half, Rodgers underthrew Matthews resulting in an interception returned by Kip Edwards 32 yards into Vandy territory.

After Mizzou's 85-yard touchdown pass, Rodgers completed a beautiful pass to Matthews who was just able to haul it in with his fingertips.   Later in the drive, Boyd caught his fourth and final reception of the night when he pulled down a pass up against two Mizzou defenders for a 40-yard gain to put the 'Dores in field goal range.

Jordan Rodgers finished 14 for 24 for 182 yards and an interception in the victory.


Rushing Offense: C+

Senior tailback Zac Stacy ran hard in his two carries in Vandy's first two drives but the Commodores opted to try through the air .

On the next series the 'Dores gave the ball to Stacy exclusively.  On fourth-and-2, Vandy attempted a direct snap to Stacy but penetration by Mizzou defenders forced a turnover on downs.

The Commodores got a big break on their first scoring drive when Sheldon Richardson was called for leaping trying to block a Richard Kent punt.  With new life on the drive, Stacy put his head down on a 5-yard touchdown run that put the 'Dores up 9-6.

Brian Kimbrow blazed through Missouri defenders on his long carry of the night, a fly sweep good for 19 yards.  The true freshman finished with 3 carries for 27 yards.

Matthews ran impressively on a speed option reverse, breaking multiple tacklers on the 19-yard gain.   Later out of the wildcat formation, Stacy cut back inside and broke tackles on a 14-yard touchdown romp.  The score was Stacy's third of the season and set him at No. 3 on the all-time touchdowns list for Vanderbilt.

Stacy was the work horse for the 'Dores rushing a career high, 29 times for 72 yards and 2 touchdowns.


Passing Defense: B

James Franklin completed a pair of long passes to Marcus Lucas to quickly bring the Tigers into Vandy territory on their second drive.  The junior quarterback played for the Tigers on their first two drives before freshman Corbin Berkstresser took over for the duration of the game.  Franklin suffered a left knee sprain that may have been caused on the tail end of his 23-yard rush in the Tigers second drive.

On their last drive of the first half with Berkstresser finally having some success, completing a 14-yard pass to T.J. Moe followed by a pair of receptions by Gahn McGaffie to cross into Vandy territory.   The Mizzou coaches elected to let the time expire and go into the halftime with Berkstresser being held to just 4 for 14 for 29 yards passing in the first half.

After Stacy's second touchdown of the night, Chase Garnham sacked Berkstresser for 11 yards to force a third-and-17 but Berkstresser completed an 85-yard touchdown pass to Bud Sasser to pull within a point after a botched snap on the extra point attempt.

With the Tigers deep in Vandy territory, defensive coordinator Bob Shoop brought the pressure on Berkstresser three consecutive times, forcing a three-and-out with Mizzou at the Vandy 25.

Cornerback Andre Hal tallied 6 tackles and had a career high 3 pass break ups.

Safeties Javon Marshall and Kenny Ladler led the team with 8 tackles each.

Redshirt freshman Corbin Berkstresser finished 9 for 30 for 189 yards passing for the Missouri.


Rushing Defense: C

Vandy had trouble with outside containment all throughout the first half with the Tigers able to break a big run for 22 yards by Kendial Lawrence to start the game.  Outstanding return man Marcus Murphy added a 25-yard run four plays later to put the Tigers in field goal range.

On Missouri's second drive, quarterback James Franklin broke multiple tackles on a 23-yard run to set Mizzou up for 28-yard Andrew Baggett field goal.

Near the end of the third quarter the Tigers reeled off 8 runs for 39 yards, capped off by a 22-yard Baggett field goal to tie the game at 9-9.

Middle linebacker Chase Garnham posted 5 tackles, one for a loss, a sack and had multiple quarterback hurries in Mizzou's last drive attempt to help secure the win.

Linebacker Jake Sealand was the third Vanderbilt true freshman to see action for the 'Dores this season.  Sealand posted a tackle and forced a fumble that was recovered by Mizzou.

Lawrence finished with 92 yards one 21 carries but was kept out of the end zone.  Overall Missouri rushed 35 times for 150 rushing yards.


Special Teams: C

True freshman Brian Kimbrow had a nice return on his first kickoff that was called back for a penalty.  Kimbrow muffed his second return which put the 'Dores in a tough starting spot on the 13-yard line.

After a delay of game penalty forced Vandy to back up for a 51-yard field goal attempt, Spear stood up and booted his first career punt, pinning Mizzou on their own 2-yard line.  Spear's punt led to a Commodore safety when the snap sailed through the Mizzou punter Trey Barrow's hands.

Richard Kent was excellent punting on the night with a 45.2 yard per punt average and consecutive punts to start the second half that pinned Mizzou inside their 10 yard line.

Carey Spear nailed his ninth field goal of the year from 21 yards out that gave the 'Dores a crucial four-point lead in the fourth quarter.


Coaching: B

After a tough schedule to start the season, Vanderbilt coaches finally came out with some of the creative play calling reminiscent of 2011.  Trick plays seemed to come on every drive for the 'Dores who faked a field goal with a punt, brought out the wildcat formation, ran reverses, and halfback passes to keep the Missouri defense on their heels.

When asked about the use of trick plays against Mizzou, head coach James Franklin responded,

"You're looking to see if you have them first. You run the first play and you're looking to see how they're defending. (Missouri) started to pursue like crazy."  Franklin continued,  "What we tried to do is use that against them."

It worked as the 'Dores came home with Franklin's first SEC road win in his tenure at Vanderbilt.


Overall: B

Vandy gained positive yards on first downs, came through on critical third-and-longs late in the game.  The Commodores were out gained 295-395 in total offense and tied Mizzou with 17 first downs.

The 'Dores improved in the red zone, scoring in all three trips with 2 Stacy touchdown runs and a field goal.

Missouri attempted three fourth-down conversions but were unable to convert one against the Vandy defense.

There was noticable improvement after the bye week with finished drives and the willingness to change things up

Things don't look any better next week for the Tigers who face a No. 1 ranked Alabama team that had an extra week off to prepare for Mizzou.

Vandy returns home for a three game home stretch starting with a visit from a tough looking Florida team that dominated No. 3 LSU defensively this week.

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