“It was good to get that one, no doubt about it,” coach Barry Odom said. “I’m proud of our guys, proud of our effort. … There’s a number of things that we addressed as a team last Sunday just about where we were, what was still left out there for us in the season and what was not there. ... It wasn’t always pretty. We made ourselves really work for it tonight, but I was excited to finish one and get that win. We needed it on a number of different levels, so I’m excited for our seniors, I’m excited for our team.”
The Tigers, who improved to 3-7 overall and 1-5 in Southeastern Conference play, snapped an 11-game losing steak in league play.
“It’s been a tough couple weeks here," Missouri offensive lineman Alec Abeln said, "so this one definitely feels pretty good.”
Missouri racked up 481 yards of total offense.
Drew Lock completed 22 of 37 passes for 294 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman running back Damarea Crockett ran for 154 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Wide receiver J'Mon Moore caught eight passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns.
The Missouri defense was led by defensive ends Charles Harris (nine tackles, 2.5 sacks) and Marcell Frazier (2.5 sacks) and cornerback Aarion Penton, who returned a second-quarter interception for a touchdown.
Vanderbilt (4-6, 1-5) gained 411 yards, with quarterback Kyle Shurmur completed 17 of 29 passes for 252 yards and two interceptions. Leading rusher Ralph Webb was limited to 34 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
"I'm disappointed," Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason said. "It was a tough loss. This football team has struggled to get off to a fast start tonight and it's hard to spot anybody 19 points. I don't care who you are in this conference, it's tough to spot anybody that many points."
Crockett opened the scoring with a 4-yard touchdown run with 10:50 remaining in the first quarter, but the point-after kick from Tucker McCann missed.
Penton made it 13-0 with his 19-yard interception return early in the second quarter — McCann made the PAT — and then Lock connected with Moore for an 82-yard touchdown pass to make it 19-0. McCann missed the PAT kick following the Moore touchdown.
Vanderbilt fought back with three straight scores.
The Commodores got a 4-yard touchdown run from Khari Blasingame with 6:24 left in the second quarter and then a 24-yard field goal from Tommy Openshaw with 2:13 remaining in the first half to make it 19-10.
The visitors trimmed the Missouri lead to 19-17 on Webb’s 1-yard touchdown run with 9:39 left in the third quarter.
The Tigers defense hung tough down the stretch and then the offense gave them some breathing room with Lock’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Moore with 8:39 remaining.
“When you look at all the football things in terms of turnovers, as far as third-down rates and conversions, I think those things were in our favor tonight," Abeln said. "But I think just the energy we came out with after, what’s it been, five or six weeks now with the bye, probably the worst stretch we’ve had here and definitely the worst I’ve had in my time here, but just through it all coming out and trying to get better every day, trying to keep the energy, keep it positive, do it for the seniors in the room and did enough tonight to get one against a pretty good Vanderbilt team.”
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