Missouri Tigers look to clinch bowl eligibility against Vandy

COLUMBIA, MO - NOVEMBER 12: Johnathon Johnson
COLUMBIA, MO - NOVEMBER 12: Johnathon Johnson /

After one heck of a turnaround under Barry Odom, the Missouri Tigers have won four straight and look to clinch bowl eligibility against a struggling Vanderbilt.

The Missouri Tigers are one of the hottest teams in the country, right now; after having an abysmal 1-5 record, it looked like the season was lost, but the Tigers have won four straight in convincing fashion are only one win away from “bowling.”

The Tigers face off against a struggling Vandy team which showed promise in the beginning of the season with a 3-0 start. Since getting killed by Alabama in week 4, the Commodores haven’t been the  same.

The Commodores’ strengths lie in its passing game and quarterback Kyle Shurmur who has been a consistent and underappreciated QB in the SEC. Shurmur has thrown for 2,192 yards, 21 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions.

Missouri Tigers Football
Missouri Tigers Football /

Missouri Tigers Football

Despite having talented running back Ralph Webb, who was Vandy’s star player last year, the Commodores have struggled with the run game all year. Vanderbilt ranks last in overall rushing offense in the SEC.

It seems when Vanderbilt focuses on the pass and allows Shurmur to take control of the game, the Commodores are able to make plays, where as when they run the ball, they’re stopped dead in their tracks.

Mizzou’s defensive line should have no problem containing Webb, and Vandy will have to rely on Shurmur’s arm if they want to have a shot at winning.

The same can’t be said about the Tigers run game, which has been nothing short of fantastic with Ish Witter and Larry Rountree emerging as one of the deadliest backfield duos in the SEC.

The backfield will be challenged by Vanderbilt’s star linebacker, Zach Cunningham, who will do his best to contain Witter and Rountree, but the duo will be too much for Cunningham to stop by himself as the rest of Vanderbilt’s defense has struggled at containing the run all season.

Even if Vandy’s defense finds a way to stop the run game, Lock should do fine against an average secondary, that should get torched by receivers Emmanuel Hall and J’mon Moore, who has consistently improved his game each week.

If the Tigers come out swinging, then we may see another ugly blowout again, which will set Missouri up for its first bowl appearance since 2014. You can catch the game on the SEC Network, Saturday night at 6:30 p.m.