Vanderbilt Football: 3 takeaways from shocking upset of Missouri

In the upset of the weekend, Vanderbilt football upset the the Missouri Tigers 21-14 in Vanderbilt Stadium. Here are three quick takeaways.

“We’re Vanderbilt men,” head coach Derek Mason exclaimed after their 21-14 upset of the No. 22 Missouri Tigers. The Tigers (5-1, 2-1) were the front-runners in the SEC East until this loss. The Commodores bowed up and played for their coach who felt the pressure of a 1-5 start.

Missouri came into this game undefeated and confident they could manage their schedule and hope to play the Georgia Bulldogs with an undefeated record. The Commodores took a bit of shine off that game with their upset of the Tigers this afternoon.

The Commodores won this game with defense. The held Missouri quarterback Kelly Bryant to 140 yards passing and picked him off once. The Tigers’ run game never fully got going averaging a pedestrian 3.8 yards per carry. What a win for Mason and the Commodores.

Here are three more takeaways from the game.

3. The Tigers trapped themselves

When you see upsets like this there might be a big play here or there in the game, however; games like this are often the accumulation of mental mistakes by the team that is upset. This was the case for Missouri.

First, the Tigers came out with no energy in this one. Vanderbilt isn’t much of a football environment. So it was a half full stadium early afternoon and the Tigers were caught peeking ahead in their schedule. They had twelve penalties for 120 yards in this game. That’s a lot of holding penalties that kept them off schedule.

The Tigers aren’t built to go down the field and hit chunk plays, so they need to stay out of long situations; they didn’t this afternoon. It hurt them.

2. The game was ugly — perfect for the Commodores

There weren’t many yards in this game, and it was a murky ugly game. Neither team ran for four yards per carry, and each team only had one explosive play all game. The Commodores took all the air out of the ball on offense by pounding the ball to the tune of 42 carries.

Defensively they kept everything in front of them. They didn’t let any of Missouri’s wide receivers get behind them, and the Tigers had to grind out yards. The Commodores forced three three-and-outs and four drives of five plays or less in this game. They didn’t do much on offense, and they made sure Missouri didn’t either.

1. This one’s for you, coach

Mason made no bones about how he was feeling coming into this game. It’s no surprise that Mason would be on edge after a loss to a struggling UNLV team last weekend, and you are hosting the undefeated Missouri Tigers the next weekend. Your team is 1-5, and everything that could go wrong has went wrong. You’re missing four players that you were counting on to contribute this season, and don’t have the talent depth to replace their production. You coach the Vanderbilt Commodores; a program that doesn’t have much football tradition, and quite frankly a university that doesn’t invest much in its football program.

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This afternoon, however, none of that mattered because those young men went out this afternoon and played for their coach. They showed what Vanderbilt men are — good on them.