The Missouri defense carries the Tigers to victory

USA; Vanderbilt Commodores wide receiver Will Sheppard - Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
USA; Vanderbilt Commodores wide receiver Will Sheppard - Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

Once again, the Missouri defense was the difference. The Tigers have been competitive because of their defense and were winners on Saturday against the Vanderbilt Commodores solely because of the defense.

The Missouri Tigers’ offense sputtered after a fast start early. Mizzou came out firing – quarterback, Brady Cook hit wide receiver, Luther Burden on a short screen that led to a 35-yard touchdown. It looked like the favorite; Missouri would run away with the game.

The two teams would then combine for nine of the next ten series ending in either a punt or a turnover, including an awful throw by Brady Cook which was intercepted.

Luther Burden would hit pay dirt again on the Tigers’ first series of the second quarter, rushing for a ten-yard touchdown, giving Missouri a 14-point lead.

An uneventful Homecoming game for the Tigers, the Missouri defense was the story. “This defense deserves better,” was once again, a familiar sentiment from the 2022 season. The Missouri defense is required to play out of their minds to give this Tigers team a chance.

The Missouri defense continues to be one of the best in college football

As the Tigers took a step up in competition when SEC conference play began, so did the Missouri defense. Unfortunately, the Missouri offense has yet to follow suit.

The defense allowed 299 total yards and only 57 rushing yards. The Tigers’ defense was on the field a lot, and it showed late as they lost a step in the fourth quarter. When it counted, the Missouri defense rose to the occasion, turning Vanderbilt over on downs late in the fourth quarter, essentially ending the game.

The Tigers survived three fumbles, and a less-than-stellar offensive performance to narrowly squeeze out a victory at home.

The takeaways from the Vanderbilt game are much the same as the Tigers’ three previous conference games. The Missouri offense has yet to demonstrate they can finish against SEC teams. The defense and special teams continue to carry Mizzou.

The individual offensive pieces are there for the Tigers. They have yet to show they can blend those pieces into a formidable offensive attack. Fortunately the defense continues to step up, leading Mizzou to victory. It was not pretty, but a win is a win.

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