No. 23 Missouri will look to start 5-0 as it heads to Nashville, Tennessee on Saturday to take on Vanderbilt. The Tigers will play their first road game of the season against the Commodores to begin conference play.
Saturday will mark the 16th meeting between the two programs, with Missouri holding a 10-4-1 advantage. Last season, the Tigers held on to defeat the Commodores 17-14 in front of their home crowd. Eliah Drinkwitz’s team jumped out to a 17-0 lead before Vanderbilt scored 14 straight points in the loss.
Photo Cred: ESPN
MU is currently on a three-game winning streak against VU. The last time Missouri lost to Vanderbilt was in 2019 when they fell 21-14 to the Commodores in Nashville. Former Tigers quarterback Kelly Bryant threw for 140 yards and a touchdown, and former VU QB Mo Hasan threw for 120 yards and a touchdown to lead Vanderbilt to victory.
Missouri Looks to Keep Climbing Up the Rankings
The Tigers are ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll for the first time since 2019, holding the No. 23 spot. MU aims to continue getting national recognition with a victory in Nashville to open up Southeastern Conference play.
After being marked as questionable, QB Brady Cook and wide receiver Luther Burden III will both play in Saturday’s matchup. Both players are coming off stellar performances in the Tigers’ 34-27 victory over Memphis last weekend. Cook has recorded back-to-back games with 300+ yards. He recorded 341 yards and two touchdowns against the Memphis Tigers, including a 76-yard TD pass to WR Marquis Johnson. Last Saturday, Burden led Missouri’s receivers with 177 yards on 10 receptions.
WRs Mookie Cooper and Theo Wease Jr. are also entering Saturday’s matchup with momentum after strong performances against UofM. Cooper put up 53 yards on three receptions, and Wease had 29 yards to go with a third-quarter touchdown. Sophomore WR Mehki Miller has been ruled out for Saturday’s contest, while tight end Brett Norfleet is questionable.
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MU’s ground attack looks to continue where it left off against VU. Cody Schrader rushed for 123 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown to give the Tigers a 34-20 lead with 2:46 remaining in the game last weekend. Nathaniel Peat recorded 65 yards and a touchdown in the second quarter for MU last Saturday.
Blake Baker’s defense faces some uncertainty heading into this weekend. Defensive back Ennis Rakestraw Jr. and defensive end Darius Robinson are both listed as questionable. Robinson is currently battling a calf sprain, while Rakestraw fully participated in this week’s walkthroughs. Rakestraw is a significant part of Missouri’s defense, with 14 tackles (seven solo) through four games. Robinson has 13 total tackles on the season so far, with nine of them being solo. DB Joseph Charleston leads MU’s defense in tackles with 17 solo tackles, and DB Kris Abrams-Draine leads in interceptions with two.
Vanderbilt Aims to Get Back on Track
Vanderbilt will seek its third win of the season on Saturday. The Commodores are currently on a three-game losing streak, most recently suffering a 45-28 loss to Kentucky at home. VU also lost back-to-back road games to UNLV and Wake Forest before facing the Wildcats.
Clark Lea’s team is also facing uncertainty heading into this weekend’s contest. QB AJ Swann will be a game-time decision due to an elbow contusion. Swann currently ranks sixth in the country with 1,290 passing yards. The QB also has eleven touchdowns and seven interceptions this season. If Swann is unable to play, either Walter Taylor or Ken Seals would start at QB. Freshman WR London Humphreys is also questionable with a lower-body injury. The WR is second on the team in receiving, with 299 yards and three touchdowns.
Photo Cred: The Vanderbilt Hustler
Will Sheppard leads VU’s WR corps with 346 yards and six touchdowns after five games. Sheppard has made multiple big plays for the Commodores this season, including a seven-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter of their 35-28 win over Hawaii. RB Patrick Smith leads Vanderbilt in rushing, with 236 yards and two touchdowns. He is coming off a strong performance against Kentucky, where he had 36 yards and a touchdown.
VU’s defense is led by linebackers CJ Taylor and Langston Patterson. Taylor has 37 total tackles (18 solo), while Patterson has 25 total tackles (11 solo). Safety De’Rickey Wright, ruled questionable but likely to play, leads Vanderbilt with two interceptions through five games. Cornerback BJ Anderson has been ruled out for the Commodores due to an illness.
Missouri will kick off against Vanderbilt at 3 P.M. on Saturday at FirstBank Stadium in Nashville Tennessee, with the game broadcast on SEC Network.