Week 9: Vanderbilt at Missouri

    Vanderbilt (2-5) at Missouri (5-2) Oct. 25, 4:00, SEC Network Here’s The Deal: Which Missouri team is going to show up? Will it be the one that decided

    October 24, 2014

    Vanderbilt (2-5) at Missouri (5-2) Oct. 25, 4:00, SEC Network 

    Here’s The Deal: Which Missouri team is going to show up? Will it be the one that decided not to get off the bus in an ugly blowout loss to Georgia, or the one that came up with one of the weirdest victories ever last week against Florida? All of a sudden, the Tigers are right back in the SEC East title chase, needing to keep on winning and hoping for a Georgia loss somewhere. With road games against Texas A&M and Tennessee remaining, along with home games against Kentucky and Arkansas, it’s not going to be easy. Getting bowl eligibility this week against Vanderbilt will take the pressure off in November, even if the team will be shooting for bigger and better things. 

    Still stuck in a true transitional season, Vanderbilt has had two weeks off since its close-call win over a good Charleston Southern team. There’s still time to come up with a great year with three of the last four games at home, but there’s a road date at Mississippi State looming. The offense has been miserable, the defense a problem, and the special teams rocky, but considering how flaky Missouri has been, this could be interesting. 

    The two schools have only played four times, with Vandy leading 1-2-1, tying 7-7 in the first meeting to open the 1957 season. 

    Why Vanderbilt Might Win: Missouri might have blown Florida away, but it’s not like the offense is working, The Tigers were shut down and shut out by Georgia, didn’t do anything for about 55 minutes against South Carolina, and came up with just 119 yards, seven first downs, and 20 passing yards against Florida. If the Commodores can somehow generate a few early scores, and if they can manage to keep the mistakes to a bare minimum, they should be able to stay in the game. The defense hasn’t been great, but the secondary has been okay at times. The Commodores have to avoid getting ripped up right out of the gate – make this a low-scoring slugfest. 

    Why Missouri Might Win: There’s not being able to score, and then there’s Vanderbilt. The Commodores managed to find their way to 34 points against South Carolina, but the only other decent days on the year came against UMass – scoring 34 – and Charleston Southern – scoring 21. Against Temple, Ole Miss, Kentucky and Georgia, Vandy cranked up a grand total of 34 points. Missouri is 5-0 when allowing 200 rushing yards or fewer, and 0-2 when allowing 200 or more. Vanderbilt has yet to run for more than 200 yards, topping out at 160 vs. UMass.

    Who To Watch Out For: Missouri’s Marcus Murphy had a day. The senior running back started out the Florida game with a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, added a five-yard scoring run, and returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown. Second on the team in rushing, he only has 374 yards and a score on the year, but he’s averaging 15.6 yards per punt return and he’s a decent receiver. For a Tiger team looking for weapons, he has to be a bigger part of the fun. 

    What’s Going To Happen: Missouri’s offense isn’t going to explode, but the defense will camp out in the Vandy backfield and stop enough drives to get by with an ugly win. 

    Prediction: Missouri 31 … Vanderbilt 14 
    Line: Missouri -21 o/u: 47 
    Must Watch Factor: 5: Dumb and Dumber To – 1: Manhattan Love Story … 2 

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