Coming off of a big 45-31 victory against Arkansas two weeks ago, the Vanderbilt Commodores are back in action this week and will be traveling to Missouri in hopes of getting one game closer to bowl eligibility.
The Tigers will be feeling good about themselves going into this one thanks to their huge 38-17 victory in Gainesville. Here are three match-ups to look out for on Saturday.
Vanderbilt Secondary vs. Drew Lock
Lock is expected to be a first-round pick in the NFL draft this April and he showed why in his performance against the Gators last weekend. He completed 75 percent of his passes and threw for 250 yards and three scores.
The Commodores have faced Lock three times in his career and have not been able to intercept him in any of those games. If they want to keep this game close, the defense will have to find ways to force turnovers. The secondary is already thin because starting safety Zaire Jones has been suspended for the rest of the season, so more guys will need to step up.
Missouri has one of the highest-powered offenses in the SEC and it will be up to the Vanderbilt secondary to make it hard on Lock and not let the game get out of hand early.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn vs. Missouri Defense
Vanderbilt fans have been pleading for more carries for Vaughn throughout the year and it was easy to see why from his performance against Arkansas. He was a beast the whole game, rushing for 172 yards and three scores. The Commodores are going to need to score some points to keep up with the Missouri offense and they will have a hard time doing this if Vaughn does not get going early.
On the other side, Missouri is known for their offense but their run defense is no joke. They held Florida’s rushing attack to 113 total yards and dominated at the line of scrimmage.
Derek Mason vs. Games After Bye Weeks
In his tenure at Vanderbilt, Mason is 0-4 coming off of a bye week. He will look to change that this week, but it will be difficult. Missouri is much better than their 5-4 record shows, especially coming off a statement win against Florida. The Commodores cannot afford to fall behind early because playing catch-up all game will be incredibly difficult against a Tiger offense that can put up points with the best of them.
If Vanderbilt is not able to leave Missouri with a victory, they will have to win their last two games against Ole Miss and Tennessee to ensure a trip to a bowl game.