Tigers bottle up Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews in first half

Updated: 2013-10-07T04:07:41Z


The Kansas City Star

Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews entered the game among the nation’s leaders in receptions, but his chances were few and far between in the first half.

Missouri rolled coverage his way, providing safety help on most snaps — though cornerback E.J. Gaines manned up on him a few times — and limited him to two catches for 8 yards as the Tigers built a 30-7 halftime lead.

“We concentrated on stopping him and you basically stop the offense,” Gaines said.

Matthews finished with seven catches for 123 yards, including his 22nd career touchdown, which broke a tie with Dan Stricker atop the Commodores’ all-time touchdown receptions list.

Matthews also became the program’s all-time leader in receiving yards with 2,996.

“He’s a great player, but I feel like I’m a great player too,” Gaines said. “Anytime I’m in a competition like that, it’s fun. It’s fun for me and fun for him, too. I talked to him after the game and he said the same thing.”

• For a few weeks, coach Gary Pinkel has talked up Missouri’s improving pass rush, which failed to record any sacks against Toledo or Indiana.

Five sacks against Arkansas State last week seemed like a step in the right direction, but the pass rush showed up with even greater authority against Vanderbilt.

The Tigers recorded seven sacks, including three by senior defensive end Michael Sam for the second consecutive week.

Junior Kony Ealy added two sacks, while junior Markus Golden added 1 1/2 sacks and junior Lucas Vincent registered a half-sack.

• The game was delayed for several minutes with 1:41 remaining in the third quarter when Marcus Murphy was shoved out of bounds at the end of a 29-yard run and leveled a security guard on the sideline.

The security guard, who had his back turned to the field to watch the stands, was taken from the field by stretcher.

“I ran right into his back,” Murphy said. “I really don’t know what happened to him, but I’m sorry that it happened and I give my best wishes to him,”

| Tod Palmer, tpalmer@kcstar.com

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