Behind Enemy Bylines: Missouri Tigers

The Hustler went Behind Enemy Bylines to interview Jarod Hamilton, the football beat reporter for PowerMizzou, to preview Vanderbilt’s matchup with Missouri.


Vanderbilt Athletics

CJ Taylor and Anfernee Orji celebrate after making a tackle against Georgia on Oct. 15 (Vanderbilt Athletics).

Andrew Wilf, Deputy Sports Editor

Following three consecutive losses to top-10 opponents in Alabama, Ole Miss and Georgia, the Vanderbilt Commodores (3-4) will hope to get back in the win column this weekend. The Commodores will travel to Columbia, Missouri to battle the Missouri Tigers (2-4) at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium on Saturday at 3 p.m. CDT.

Vanderbilt will look to snap a 24-game SEC losing streak by upsetting Missouri in their homecoming game on Saturday. The last time the Commodores defeated an SEC opponent was just over three years ago, on Oct. 19, 2019. That day, Vanderbilt outlasted Missouri 21-14. 

“Our losses reflect the product we’re putting on the field right now, both from a planning standpoint and an execution standpoint,” Lea said. “We have a resilient group of players and a resilient staff. Building a program is challenging, and we’re in the throes of that challenge.”

The Hustler went Behind Enemy Bylines and interviewed Jarod Hamilton, the football beat reporter for PowerMizzou, to preview Vanderbilt’s upcoming battle with Missouri.

Vanderbilt Hustler: Let’s talk about that Georgia game where Missouri lost to the Bulldogs by only four points. What did that mean for the program? Obviously, Missouri had their number until the last few minutes of the game.

Jarod Hamilton: So with the Georgia game, I think that gave Mizzou kind of a confidence boost…That Georgia game, not only was it kind of a confidence boost for them that they can hold [with Georgia], but it also was probably their [Missouri] best crowd of the season. 

VH: I want to talk about Missouri’s quarterback Brady Cook who has a 64.9% completion percentage. He also is having a bit of a rough season in his first stint as a starter for the Tigers. What do you expect to see from him against maybe a weaker SEC opponent than the type of teams you guys have played this season?

JH: He has struggled. The knock on Brady is that he’s not going to win them games, he’s not going to take them out of buildings or bring them back from a big deficit or clutch the game up. More times than not, he’s also not going to be the reason they lose the game. Versus Florida, you could say those two interceptions he had obviously swung the tide of the game and led to two touchdowns for Florida. Besides that, he had a pretty decent game.

So this week, he has a full arsenal of weapons, and he will have one of his better games in the season considering Vanderbilt is ranked 130 [of 131] in pass defense and 129 [of 131] in overall total defense.

VH: What is your key to victory for Missouri?

JH: I think Missouri needs to run the ball, and they need to run the ball to Nathaniel Peat who has had two 100+ yard rushing games in the last three weeks. Coming into the season, he had one game of over 100 yards rushing, so they have to keep the ball rolling with him. They have to also get Cody Schrader involved, who had 89 yards on 6 carries versus Georgia. [They need to] do that to open up the passing game. I think Missouri wants to take advantage of Vanderbilt’s secondary, but they need to run the ball to get that going.

VH: What is your score prediction for the Vanderbilt-Missouri game?

JH: I’m gonna say 28-15, Mizzou. I think Vanderbilt is pretty good at getting in the red zone, albeit they’ve played some lesser competition. They still have that ability to convert when they are in the red zone. But I do think Missouri’s defense will lock them up from scoring. So I think they’ll [Vanderbilt] get a lot of field goals.

I’m not really sure if Mizzou can go off or have a breakout performance. It just feels like something has been off for the [Missouri] offense recently.