Keys to the game
Missouri: Albert Okwuegbunam. The redshirt freshman tight end caught Missouri’s first and final touchdowns of this game. The second score gave him nine touchdown receptions for the season, which ties Jeremy Maclin’s program record for touchdown catches by a freshman. Okwuegbunam led Missouri’s receivers with five catches for 116 yards, including his 57-yard scoring grab that put Vanderbilt away in the fourth quarter after the Commodores had scored 17 second half points.
Vanderbilt: Kyle Shurmur. The junior quarterback led what figured to be the best passing attack Missouri had faced since at least before this winning streak (five games) began, possibly longer. For the Commodores to have a chance, he was going to have to beat the Tigers’ secondary. But a windy and wet night didn’t help him, and Shurmur threw three interceptions, including two in the first half.
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Brandon Lee intercepted Shurmur with just under 8 minutes left in the second quarter and ran 42 yards to the end zone. The score helped put MU up 21-0, and by the half, Missouri was up 35-0. It was the first interception returned for a touchdown by an MU player since Aarion Penton did so on Nov. 12, 2016, also against Vanderbilt.
Missouri’s first offensive drives have been sluggish most of this season, but the Tigers scored on the opening possession of this game. Mizzou also never turned the ball over. MU quarterback Drew Lock wasn’t very efficient — he completed 10 of 25 pass attempts — but he made big throws. He averaged 23.5 yards per completion, and he threw three touchdowns. This was the seventh straight game Lock threw for at least three scores. Lock, a junior from Lee’s Summit has thrown 38 touchdowns this season.
After dominating Vanderbilt in the first half, the Tigers’ defense came out lackadaisical to start the second half. Vanderbilt scored 17 straight points. Missouri refocused, though. With Vanderbilt on the MU 10-yard line on fourth and goal, Marcell Frazier hurried Shurmur into an incompletion. The following Vanderbilt drive, in which the Commodores got to the Missouri 2-yard line, ended with an interception by Terry Beckner Jr.
Richaud Floyd scored his second punt return touchdown of the season. This one was 74 yards, and it put Missouri up 35-0. Tucker McCann converted his only field-goal attempt. It was a 41-yarder.