Missouri Tigers (4-0 0-0 SEC) @ Vanderbilt Commodores (3-2 0-2 SEC)
Saturday, October 5, 2013
Vanderbilt Stadium Nashville, Tennessee
6:30 PM Central
Radio: Tiger Network; Sirius 137 / XM 199
Stations Casinos Line (Mizzeaux's preferred locals casino, even if the lines are always screwed up): Vanderbilt -2 Overview:
The Tigers did what they needed to do to try to make a decent season out of the 2013 campaign and went undefeated through the non-conference slate. While the first four games of the season certainly provided plenty of excitement and opportunities for meltdown, the wins are really what matter most and Mizzou is coming into the first SEC conference match up of 2013 with four of them.
Vanderbilt will be participating in their sixth game of the season and is following up their recent drubbing of the Blazers of UAB. Vanderbilt has been battle tested by strong SEC competition, and lost in one of the most exciting games of the young season versus Ole Miss in week one. Battles: Vanderbilt's Offense versus Mizzou's Defense.
Vanderbilt's O is lead by Senior Quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels. Austyn participated in six games as a backup for the Commodores in 2012, and amassed all of his passing statistics in a game versus the Presbyterian going 14-of-24 passes for 208 yards and a touchdown versus the Blue Hose. In last week's victory over the Blazers of UAB, Austyn completed 23 of his 29 passing attempts and 334 yards with two passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown. Carta-Samuels is a fifth year senior transfer from Wyoming and played under former Mizzou OC and current Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen. Through the first five games of Vanderbilt's season, Carta-Samuels has a completion rate of 64.7% by completing 88 of his 136 passing attempts for 1223 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions. Fun Fact:
In the victory over UAB, Carta-Samuels became the first Vanderbilt quarterback since Jay Cutler in 2005 to post two 300-yard passing games in a season.
Vanderbilt's offense has been shaky and inconsistent thus far this year, but last week's 52-24 victory over the Blazers is giving Vanderbilt fans reason to be encouraged. While the offensive display was against UAB, the ability to complete passes and sustain drives is something that had been sorely missed in the previous four games.
Vanderbilt's greatest offensive passing target for Carta-Samuels is Jordan Matthews, a 6 foot 3 senior receiver. Matthews has gone for over 100 years receiving in all but on of the Commodores' games this year, and looks to be building on an amazing 2012 campaign that garnered him Unanimous 2012 First Team All SEC honors. His best game so far has comes against the the Ole Miss Rebels, were he carved up their secondary for 178 yards on ten receptions and a touchdown, including a 55 yard catch.
Jerron Seymour the sophomore RB has been sharing a plays with senior Wesley Tate. Seymour has been averaging 6.1 yards per carry on this season so far, and added two first half touchdowns against UAB last weekend in addition to his 152 yards bringing him to six rushing touchdowns on the season and almost doubling his yardage to bring his season total to 286 yards. Wesley Tate has seen more rushing action, but hasn't had quite the success, yielding a 4.4 YPC average on 55 carries and three touchdowns through five games. Seymour did take a direct snap on a Wildcat type play last week in for a 58 yard touchdown, something Coach Steckel and the Mizzou D need to be aware of.
Vanderbilt seems to be coming together as a unit just in time for the game against Mizzou. Four offensive players had 100 yards of total offense versus the Blazers.
Vanderbilt is averaging 258 passing yards per game including Carta-Samuels passing for 300 yards on 36 attempts versus the Rebels of Ole Miss in week one. Carta Samuels completed 58% of his passes versus the Mississippi secondary, and has shown that he had the ability to make poor decisions and reads leading two two interceptions against the SEC secondary. Carta-Samuels and the Vanderbilt receiving corps didn't fare nearly as well versus South Carolina's secondary, only amassing 147 yards on 22 attempts. The Gamecocks managed to hold Austyn to a single passing TD and intercepted him once.
Mizzou's secondary hasn't been a bright shining point so far this season, and that was best exhibited by Arkansas State's QB Kennedy lighting up the Mizzou secondary for over 300 yards of passing in the Tigers' most recent game.
Mizzou has shown glimpses of being able to stand tall against the rush and Vanderbilt's rushing offense has put up just 157 yards per game on average so if the Commodores are going to take control of the game it will likely come through the air and the hands of Austyn Carta-Samuels and Jordan Matthews versus the Mizzou secondary. Mizzou's O versus Vanderbilt's D
Vanderbilt's biggest issue at this point is the injuries they've taken in the linebacking corps. The Commodores are playing without senior middle linebacker and captain Chase Garnham who has been sidelined with a leg injury that has kept him our for the previous few games, and he will remain absent for the battle versus the Tigers as well as starting outside linebacker Karl Butler who is nursing an undisclosed injury and has missed the previous two weeks. Sophomore linebackers Jake Sealand and Larry Franklin were much improved in the Commodores' win over UAB, but Mizzou should be able to take advantage of the losses assuming the offense will be running the ball up the middle.
Vanderbilt has allowed just over 21 points per game so far this season, again including two games over SEC foes. In losses versus Ole Miss and South Cackalacky the Dores have 39 and 35 points respectively. Whether Mizzou will be able to go vertical over the Vanderbilt secondary or run is right up the gut and taking advantage of weaknesses, the Mizzou offense will likely need to come out and point some points on the board quickly. In this past Saturday's win over UAB the Commodores gained 166 yards in the first quarter, while they only managed to put up seven points, the quick start lead to a 17 point second and a 24-6 lead at the half.
While Vanderbilt will likely be the best defense the Tigers have seen this year, it's worth remembering that after the linebacking injuries they did give up 24 points to Alabama-Birmingham.
Vanderbilt's got an advantage in the kicking game, with their place kicker going 4-5 on FG's over 50 for this season. That's enough
We all know what needs to happen. Mizzou needs to come out and actually produce some yardage and touchdowns versus what appears to be a pretty stout defense and our boys on the D need to pay a lot more attention to their coverages and actually tackle against what has proven thus far to be an offense able to score and coming together at the right time.
A good portion of Vanderbilt's passing completions have come in the form of short routes and screens, a strategy that seems to be well suited to take advantage of Mizzou's "bend but don't break" type defense. As you all know, we do what we do. My Cleek-type prediction: Mizzou 42 Vanderbilt 31
Reality: Mizzou 28-24
This post was edited on 10/1 at 9:46 pm