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Vanderbilt guts out 21-14 win over Missouri

What did we just watch?!

NCAA Football: Missouri at Vanderbilt Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Vanderbilt Commodores head coach decided to go with former third-stringer Mo Hasan against Missouri — and it somehow worked as the Commodores shocked the Tigers, the #22 team in the country, by a 21-14 final score just a week after losing to UNLV.

In a surprise that had been telegraphed for about a week, Hasan came out to take the first snap of the game for Vanderbilt — and this, somehow, turned out to be a good move.

Vanderbilt’s offense opened the game with three consecutive punts, but the good news was that the defense showed up, forcing two punts of its own and also holding Missouri to a 50-yard field goal attempt (which it missed) on their third possession. And then, Hasan promptly hit Kalija Lipscomb for a 34-yard pass on the next play after the miss, then set Vanderbilt up for its first score with a 21-yard run on 3rd and 15. Ke’Shawn Vaughn punched it in a couple of plays later to give Vanderbilt a 7-0 lead.

Missouri answered right back, though, with Kelly Bryant finding Albert Okwuegbunam from four yards out to tie the game at 7, but Vanderbilt’s defense would force punts on Missouri’s next two drives. Then, shortly before halftime, Hasan hit Ke’Shawn Vaughn on a screen pass that went for 61 yards to give Vanderbilt a 14-7 lead going into the half.

Early in the second half, it started to look like it would be Vanderbilt’s day. Missouri’s Tucker McCann missed another field goal attempt, only to see it bailed out by a roughing the kicker penalty — only for Allan George to come up with an interception in the end zone to end the threat.

But then, just like that, Mo Hasan’s day was done — with an assist from Missouri’s Tyree Gillespie. With Hasan sliding to the ground, Gillespie struck him helmet-to-helmet. Gillespie was rightly ejected — but Hasan was also done for the day, headed to the locker room with an apparent concussion. Two plays later, Riley Neal threw an interception that Missouri’s Cameron Wilkins returned down to the Vanderbilt 6 — and Larry Rountree would tie the game up on the next play.

And then, Riley Neal would redeem himself. Facing a 3rd and 8 on the Vanderbilt 37, Neal found Jared Pinkney on the sideline for a 15-yard gain; and, later, on a 3rd and 7 at the Missouri 21, Neal found Cam Johnson in the flat, who ran it in for a touchdown to give Vanderbilt a 21-14 lead. Missouri’s last hope died when the Tigers’ drive stalled at the Vanderbilt 30 and McCann missed a 48-yard field goal, and Ke’Shawn Vaughn ran the clock out from there.

The story of the game was Hasan, but the Vanderbilt defense held Missouri’s high-powered offense to 293 yards on 66 plays — or 22 fewer than Vanderbilt had on just 60 plays. Ke’Shawn Vaughn had 96 yards on 29 carries.