Mis­souri squeaks out vic­tory over Van­der­bilt

The Herald (Rock Hill) - - Sports -

Mis­souri’s de­fense bent but didn’t break dur­ing Van­der­bilt’s fi­nal drive, and the Tigers de­feated the Com­modores 33-28 to clinch bowl el­i­gi­bil­ity on Satur­day.

Mis­souri kicker Tucker McCann had a chance to ice the game with 1:48 re­main­ing, but the ju­nior missed a 31-yard field goal to give Van­der­bilt a last chance. The Com­modores drove down to Mis­souri’s 25-yard line, but couldn’t con­vert a last-se­cond heave to win the game.

In the end, the Tigers (6-4, 2-4 South­east­ern Con­fer­ence) are go­ing bowl­ing, and the Com­modores (4-6, 1-5) will need to win both its re­main­ing games to guar­an­tee bowl el­i­gi­bil­ity.

Van­der­bilt had led all game un­til Mis­souri run­ning­backs Da­marea Crock­ett and Larry Roun­tree III fu­eled a 99-yard drive to start the fourth quar­ter. The drive started af­ter Van­der­bilt failed to con­vert a 4th-and-goal op­por­tu­nity on Mis­souri’s 1-yard line.

From there, the Tigers trekked down the field for a 14-play drive that lasted 5:38. Quar­ter­back Drew Lock trot­ted three yards into the end­zone to give Mis­souri its first lead of the game - 33-28 with 9:18 re­main­ing.

Van­der­bilt quar­ter­back Kyle Shur­mur out­played Lock for the ma­jor­ity of the game. Shur­mur tossed for 249 yards and three touch­downs on 24-for-35 pass­ing. Lock, a former Heis­man hope­ful, passed for 253 yards, two touch­downs and two in­ter­cep­tions on 22-for-33 pass­ing.

Crock­ett bolted for 122 yards and a touch­down on 22 car­ries and Roun­tree added 92 yards on 21 rushes.

Van­der­bilt’s Ke’Shawn Vaughn ran for 182 yards and one touch­down on 15 car­ries, good for 12.1 yards per carry.

The Com­modores showed prom­ise on of­fense in the first half and proved that they could com­pete on the road. The vic­tory would have im­mensely helped the team’s bowl chances, but Van­der­bilt can still clinch el­i­gi­bil­ity with wins in home games against Ole Miss and Ten­nessee.

It wasn’t as pretty as the Tigers’ 38-17 vic­tory over No. 13 Florida, but Mis­souri is of­fi­cially go­ing bowl­ing. Af­ter a rough first half, the de­fense locked down and of­fense stepped up in the se­cond half. Fi­nally win­ning a close game should help the Tigers’ spir­its.


Mis­souri safety Cam Hil­ton, top, breaks up a pass in­tended for Van­der­bilt tight end Jared Pinkney in the end zone on the fi­nal play Satur­day. The pass breakup pre­served the Tigers’ win.

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