Vanderbilt and Missouri both have losing SEC records going into the Week 8 matchup. They also both have struggling offenses, but Missouri’s five-star defense has the potential to shift the game in Mizzou’s favor. Offensive output through the air and on the ground will be crucial for the Commodores on Saturday.
Here’s what else you need to know about Saturday’s game:
Missouri Tigers (4-3, 1-3 SEC) at Vanderbilt Commodores (2-4, 0-3 SEC)
Kickoff: Sat., Oct. 24, 4:00 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
Weather: 72 degrees, 50 percent chance of rain (Weather.com)
Line: Mizzou -3 (Fantasy911.com)
By the numbers:
12 – The number of touchdowns both teams have scored all season. The Commodores and Tigers both struggle on offense, so it’ll be interesting to see which unit can stay on the field and produce more points. Vandy averages 19.3 points per game compared to Mizzou’s average of 16.6 points per game.
11 – The number of touchdowns Missouri’s defense has allowed all season. The Tigers top-notch defense has held Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and Kentucky’s offenses to three touchdowns or less.
7 – Vandy and Mizzou have gone head to head seven times. Mizzou has won four of the seven, Vandy the other two, and the last one was a tie.
Storylines to watch
Who will coach Derek Mason choose to start at quarterback?
The quarterback situation is still quiet, and Mason has made it clear he’s “exploring every option.” Freshman Kyle Shurmur joined the competition with sophomores Johnny McCrary and Wade Freebeck. Vanderbilt center said he’s tested him on the game plan before games to see if the freshman can handle himself, and Shurmur has proven he can.
Will Mizzou’s defense hold another SEC opponent to less than three touchdowns?
Based on Mizzou’s defensive performance all season, the Tigers are prepared when it comes to run and passing. They are stacked with talent; cornerback Aarion Penton, defensive end Charles Harris, and linebacker Michael Scherer are all big time playmakers.
Mizzou’s defense did everything but score in the game against Georgia last week. The boys on the defensive side of the ball definitely know how to win games.
Where will Vanderbilt’s defense stand this week?
The Commodores have improved significantly on the defensive side of the ball this year. If there is any credit to the fact that Vandy is a better team, it definitely goes toward the defense. Key defensive leaders include inside linebacker Zach Cunningham and free safety Oren Burks. Both players have racked up a number of tackles for the season. Cunningham has a total of 47 tackles, and Burks has a total of 34.
Last week, Vandy’s defense struggled more that it has all season against the Gamecocks, but other than that, they’ve been solid.
Prediction: Missouri 21, Vanderbilt 13
This will be a tight game for sure, but Mizzou’s defense will save the Tigers in this one. Vanderbilt’s new quarterback may make a significant difference on the offensive side of the ball, but Mason has a lot to clean up on the offense.
Turnovers are too big of an issue to help the Commodores in this game, and Vandy’s high turnover stat has yet to change. The offense is a work in progress, which won’t be easy against one of the best defenses in the SEC. Missouri will end up pulling out the W on Saturday.