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Stat Breakdown: Defense bends, doesn’t break against Vanderbilt

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It wasn’t the Tigers’ best defensive performance, but they did enough to secure the win over a surprising Commodores squad.

Vanderbilt v Missouri Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Giving up 465 all-purpose yards is never a good thing, especially when the team features a backfield as hungry for a win as Vanderbilt quarterback Kyle Shurmur and running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn.

It was the highest amount of yards this Missouri defense has given up since a Week 7 loss to Alabama, in which it allowed the Crimson Tide to put up 564 total yards. And when the fourth quarter started, with the Commodores in possession at the Tigers’ 1-yard line, it looked like six more points were about to be added to the scoreboard.

But Vaughn was stopped just inches from the end zone on a leap over the line on fourth and goal, and it then felt like a whole new Missouri defense had come to play.

The Tigers allowed just 72 total yards for the rest of the quarter — the lowest amount Vanderbilt gained in any quarter all day — including just six yards for the same Vaughn that had already rushed for 176 through the first three . Shurmur was still fairly efficient — 7 of 13 for 66 yards — but Missouri forced the Commodores into a punt and a turnover on downs before completing the comeback victory with the pass breakup in the end zone.

One of the most telling stats to come out of the Tigers’ fourth quarter defensive performance was yards-per-play allowed.

Vanderbilt averaged a whopping 8.4 yards-per-play through three while outgaining Missouri 393 yards to 346. But once the fourth quarter started and that “whole new” defense came to play, the Commodores had very little success with the ball in their hands. The Tigers allowed just four yards-per-play to shut down Vanderbilt’s attack.

Missouri’s defense definitely bent at the hands of Shurmur and Co., but it managed to not snap completely when it mattered most.

Even without third musketeer, ground attack doesn’t miss a beat

Freshman running back Tyler Badie has been a huge part of Missouri’s rushing attack throughout the season, giving the Tigers almost a three-headed monster in the backfield.

Badie left during the win over Florida with a foot injury after his only carry of the game, though, and then he was unavailable to play Saturday against Vanderbilt. But even with the hole Badie’s absence left in the unit, Damarea Crockett and Larry Rountree III made sure the Tigers didn’t miss his production.

Crockett led the team with 122 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Rountree wasn’t too far behind him, rushing for 92 yards of his own on 21 attempts.

And just for good measure, quarterback Drew Lock got in on the action with 27 yards on five carries, including the game-winning 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Other notable Week 11 stats

  • Lock’s 253 yards in the air bumped him up three spots on the Southeastern Conference all-time passing yards leaderboard, where he is now No. 3 with 11,342 yards in his career. He currently sits 186 yards behind No. 2 David Greene (Georgia, 11,528) with just Tennessee, Arkansas and a bowl game remaining, so it would be quite the surprise if he doesn’t end up in second place all-time.
  • Jack has already touched on this, but freshman Dominic Gicinto and Daniel Parker combined for 123 receiving yards on Saturday, with Gicinto even taking a page out of Emanuel Hall and Jalen Knox’s books on a 42-yard reception down the left sideline. It wasn’t a great showing offensively Saturday until the second half got underway, but Gicinto and Parker’s contributions were huge in the come-from-behind win.