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Missouri-Vanderbilt game report

First quarter

Key play: Missouri led 10-0 and Vanderbilt still hadn’t picked up a first down when sophomore linebacker Kentrell Brothers picked off Austyn Carta-Samuels, setting up the Tigers at the Commodores’ 11-yard line. One play later, James Franklin’s touchdown pass to Eric Waters made it 17-0.

Key stat: Franklin completed his first nine passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns, and Missouri raced to a 20-0 lead. His deep sideline throw for a 26-yard touchdown to L’Damian Washington on the game’s first drive set the tone for a rout.

Second quarter

Key play: Vanderbilt came to life briefly on offense, marching 75 yards in 15 plays for a touchdown, and its defense was about to force a three-and-out. Instead, junior running back Henry Josey knifed through the Commodores’ defense for 13 yards on third and 3. Josey later capped the drive with a 5-yard TD run.

Key stat: Missouri dominated in all phases during the first half, building a 30-7 lead. The Tigers outgained Vanderbilt 295-97 overall from scrimmage and bottled up Commodores star wide receiver Jordan Matthews, who had only two catches for 8 yards at intermission.

Third quarter

Key play: After Vanderbilt took the opening kickoff and marched for a touchdown, Missouri faced fourth and 1 at the Commodores’ 8-yard line. Coach Gary Pinkel could have opted for a field goal, but chose instead to go for it. Josey picked up 3 yards and eventually scored on a 1-yard run as the Tigers’ regained the momentum.

Key stat: By the end of the third quarter, Missouri already had topped 200 yards rushing and passing. That balance has been a hallmark of the Tigers’ attack this season, but scoring on nine of 11 possessions has not been and demonstrates the attack’s efficiency.

Fourth quarter

Key play: Midway through the fourth quarter, Vanderbilt still had a gasp, but defensive end Michael Sam knocked the final breath from the Commodores with his third sack (and sixth in two weeks) on fourth and 8 at the Missouri 44. It was one of seven sacks for the Tigers in the game.

Key stat: Hey, 51 points is 51 points. That matches the most Missouri has scored in an SEC game, tying the mark set in a four-overtime win at Tennessee last season. Of course, this win was more impressive and could have been even more lopsided.

Player of the game: Quarterback James Franklin set the tone with a perfect opening drive. In fact, he was perfect on Missouri’s first three drives and finished the game 19 of 28 for 278 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. He also had 12 carries for 63 yards.

Reason to hope: It’s usually a good sign when your punter doesn’t make an appearance until the fourth quarter, which is when Missouri junior Christian Brinser entered the game for the first time. More than anything, it’s indicative of the fact that the Tigers were more consistent than recent weeks on offense.

Reason to mope: Vanderbilt still found big plays in the passing game against Missouri’s secondary, which allowed five passes of at least 20 yards. It’s been an issue throughout the season and is something Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray could exploit next week.

Looking ahead: Georgia needed a last-minute rally to force overtime in a 37-34 win at Tennessee. Vanderbilt is regarded as a better team than Tennessee, so it would be foolish to write off Missouri’s chances. Remember, the Tigers hung in with coach Mark Richt’s squad for three quarters last season before Franklin hurt his shoulder.

| Tod Palmer,

Report card

A Offense Missouri scored on its first six possessions and didn’t punt until well into the fourth quarter. Quarterback James Franklin played with confidence right from the opening kickoff and delivered another masterful performance. The running game was impressive again despite a bump in competition.
B+ Defense Big plays continue to crop up in the passing game, but most of the time it’s after the game is well in hand. On the plus side, Missouri allowed only 97 yards in the first half
A- Special teams Kicker Andrew Baggett shook off a delay-of-game penalty before a 39-yard field goal and connected on a 44-yarder with plenty of room to spare. He added two more field goalsand drilled all six extra points. Baggett also continued to boom kickoffs for touchbacks. The return game was solid again, but remains unspectacular this season.
A- Coaching Obviously, the game plan was terrific and the team was prepared for opening its second season in the Southeastern Conference. Missouri led 30-7 and thoroughly dominated on both sides of the ball. It’s probably the Tigers’ most impressive win in its brief SEC history.