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Vanderbilt clinches another losing season in 37-28 loss to Missouri

The Commodores are now 2-7 on the season.

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

The Vanderbilt Commodores’ game against the Missouri Tigers started out, as they often do, poorly — and nearly disastrously. Missouri went 49 yards on eight plays on its opening drive to set up a 46-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead, and after a quick three-and-out by the Vanderbilt offense (and a 30-yard punt because for some reason we’re rugby puntin’), Missouri’s second drive went 59 yards in eight plays for a 10-0 lead.

Vanderbilt’s ensuing drive was another three-and-out — and then, Missouri blocked Harrison Smith’s punt, setting themselves up at the Vanderbilt 15. But staring a 17-0 deficit down the barrel, Max Worship intercepted a Connor Bazelak pass on 2nd and 14. And then Vanderbilt figured out the soft spot in Missouri’s defense: runs to the outside. Patrick Smith got Vanderbilt’s first first down of the day on an 11-yard run, and then Mike Wright went 69 yards on a beautiful fake pitch and run that set Vanderbilt up with a 1st and goal at the Missouri 7 — which they cashed in one play later on a touchdown pass to Cam Johnson. Suddenly, it was 10-7 and what looked like it might turn into a blowout win for Missouri was now a tight game. The momentum carried forward to Vanderbilt’s next drive, when the Commodores went 84 yards in 13 plays and drained seven minutes off the clock, capped by Patrick Smith scooting in from ten yards out to make the score 14-10.

And then, just before halftime, the momentum would turn. Vanderbilt set up what looked like a 52-yard Joseph Bulovas field goal with 22 seconds left in the half, but called a fake, and Bulovas couldn’t quite hit the corner. Then, at the final buzzer of the first half, Bazelak found Keke Chism amongst approximately six Vanderbilt defenders in the end zone on a Hail Mary and the Tigers went into the locker room up 17-14. After trading three-and-outs to open the second half, Missouri would extend its lead to 24-14 with 5:28 to go in the third quarter, but Vanderbilt would strike back with a 70-yard run by Mike Wright to set up a four-yard touchdown pass to Gavin Schoenwald, the first of his Vanderbilt career.

But then two Missouri field goals would extend the lead to two scores, the first a 32-yarder on the first play of the fourth quarter, the second from 52 yards out to cap a drive that took over seven minutes off the clock. Vanderbilt would cut the score to 30-28 on another Mike Wright touchdown pass to Cam Johnson (after the drive got extended by a fourth-down pass interference penalty), but Missouri would need just two plays to ice the game with Tyler Badie running 73 yards to set up a two-yard run by backup quarterback Tyler Macon. The Commodores’ last-ditch effort would end on a Mike Wright interception.

It was a game effort by the Commodores, who lost their nineteenth SEC game in a row but managed 380 yards of total offense, 258 on the ground. But Vanderbilt simply couldn’t stop Tyler Badie, who had 31 carries for 254 yards and two touchdowns. Vanderbilt now heads into the bye week having clinched its eighth straight losing season at 2-7, before hosting Kentucky on November 13.