Coming this week
Through the first half of the season, Vanderbilt arguably has been the worst Power Five team in the country. The Commodores are last in the Southeaster Conference in every major category: scoring offense and defense, total offense and defense, rushing offense and defense, passer rating and defensive passer rating. The only Power Five defense giving up more points and yards is UCLA. Only two Power Five offenses average fewer points and yards: Northwestern and Rutgers. Otherwise, things are going great for the 1-5 Commodores! Derek Mason, now 25-43 in his sixth season in Nashville, could be coaching for his job over the next six weeks — if he hasn’t lost it already. The Commodores are coming off one of their worst performances in recent history, a 34-10 home loss to Nevada-Las Vegas, a team that was 1-4 before visiting Nashville. Offense wasn’t supposed to be a major weakness, but Vandy isn’t getting much from a lineup that features three projected NFL skill players — running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn, receiver Kalija Lipscomb and tight end Jared Pinkney. Quarterback Riley Neal, a grad transfer from Ball State, has completed less than 60 percent of his passes and thrown for just four touchdowns with three interceptions.
Player to watch
Vaughn, who is on pace for more than 1,200 rushing yards, remains one of the SEC’s better running backs. He’s logged 100 yards in three of six games, including a triple-digit day against Louisiana State. He went for 140 yards on just 15 carries in Saturday’s loss to UNLV and for the year averages 6 yards per carry. Vaughn, a transfer from the University of Illinois, passed on entering the 2019 NFL draft and after just 18 games at Vandy needs only 352 yards rushing to rank among the school’s top five career runners.
He said it
“I’m sure that we’ll get a heavy dose of all three of them on Saturday and are going to have to find a way to slow them down. All three can score from anywhere on the field.” — MU coach Barry Odom on Vanderbilt’s Vaughn, Pinkney and Lipscomb
Lipscomb, Vandy’s All-SEC receiver, missed most of the UNLV game because of a bruised heel but is back on top of the team’s depth chart. MU will be without middle linebacker Cale Garrett, presumably out for the year because of a torn pectoral tendon. The Tigers could get punt returner Richaud Floyd back from a hamstring injury.
Mizzou has won five of the last six meetings and leads the series 7-3-1. The Tigers beat Vandy for the third straight time last year, holding off a fourth-quarter rally in a 33-28 home win. In a series that dates to 1895, MU is 5-2 against the Commodores since joining the SEC, 2-1 in Nashville.