Three things learned in Mizzou's victory
Missouri football hadn't played a home game in more than a month, but the Tigers sure looked comfortable Saturday in their return to Faurot Field.
Missouri dominated Vanderbilt from start to finish en route to a 41-0 victory.
The triumph gives Missouri a winning record for the first time in Eli Drinkwitz's tenure as head coach at 4-3. The Commodores fall to 0-8.
MU has won four of its past five games in its Southeastern Conference-only schedule.
Missouri produced 603 yards of total offense while holding the Commodores to 196.
The shutout was the Tigers' first since beating Southeast Missouri State 50-0 last September. They hadn't done so against conference opposition since November 2018, a 38-0 win against Arkansas.
Here are three things we learned in the commanding performance:
1. Missouri's offense is dangerous when in sync.
The Tigers have made no bones about it: A heavy dose of Larry Rountree is coming.
Against the Commodores, the standout senior made 21 carries for 160 yards and three touchdowns.
Fellow running back Tyler Badie, meanwhile, became the first Tiger since Johnathon Johnson against Mississippi last season to haul in more than 100 yards receiving. The junior finished with 102 yards receiving with a touchdown, along with 18 yards rushing.
Even true freshman running back Elijah Young showed promise with an elusive 16-yard gain in the third quarter. He followed that up with a 35-yard scamper in the final period.
The backfield was certainly effective, and so was Connor Bazelak's game management.
The redshirt freshman quarterback finished 30 of 37 (81%) passing for 318 yards, with Tauskie Dove making a team-high eight receptions for 62 yards. Eleven Missouri players made at least one reception during the onslaught.
2. Missouri's defense is shutting down the opponents it should.
Vanderbilt kicker Sarah Fuller made history by becoming the first female to appear in a Power Five Conference football game, but the soccer standout only saw the field once for a designed pooch kick to start the second half.
The Commodores offense crossed midfield a few times, but never moved the ball deep enough to give the SEC champion goalkeeper a chance to try a field goal.
There were no holes in Missouri's game plan for Ken Seals and Co. to exploit. The Tigers' defensive line got consistent pressure on the Vanderbilt freshman quarterback, with the Tigers recording four sacks as part of 10 tackles for loss.
Junior linebacker Nick Bolton, as per usual, led the Tigers in tackles with nine (all solo), while Devin Nicholson forced a third-quarter fumble that Jarvis Ware recovered.
The secondary was solid throughout, allowing little time for Vanderbilt's receivers to operate after Seals threw for more than 300 yards in three of the past four games. Seals managed just 79 yards passing Saturday.
3. Finishing the season with a winning record is now the expectation, not just a dream.
Missouri has three regular-season games left — two at home and one on the road.
The game away from Columbia is at Mississippi State, which played Georgia tough last weekend but has had so much roster attrition that its level of play is hard to project.
Next week, Missouri is scheduled to play a resurgent Arkansas team at Faurot Field, where plenty of headlines will gravitate to Razorbacks defensive coordinator and former Tigers head coach Barry Odom returning to his old stomping grounds.
The Tigers' other remaining opponent is Georgia, currently ranked No. 10 in the nation.
For Missouri to go 1-2 or without a victory in its final three games would be a disappointment with all it's shown in two months of games in the Drinkwitz era.
The more MU wins, the better leverage and selection it would have for a bowl game.
Before the season, many around the country predicted 6-4 to be the Tigers' best-case scenario. Now, that's well within reach.