NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The troubles away from home continue for Missouri.
The No. 22 Tigers entered their first Southeastern Conference road game as a three-touchdown favorite against Vanderbilt, but they never found an offensive rhythm.
Instead, on its homecoming, Vanderbilt found a way to shock Missouri by capitalizing on plenty of mistakes.
The Commodores downed the Tigers 21-14 on Saturday afternoon in front of an announced crowd of 23,900 at Vanderbilt Stadium.
Missouri drops to 5-2 with its first conference loss, while Vanderbilt earns its second victory of the season and first in the SEC.
Missouri recorded four drives of 40 yards or longer and walked away with only seven total points from them.
The Tigers also committed a season-high in penalties with 12 for 120 yards.
“You look at four quarters of play, I think we got outcoached and out-executed the entire four quarters,” Missouri head coach Barry Odom said. “And we could not run the ball, which is frustrating to me that we couldn't, and we didn't convert near enough on our third downs to give ourselves a chance.”
The Tigers were 3-of-15 on third downs and their trio of running backs combined for 81 yards on 24 carries.
“We've got a decision to make on how we’re going to respond," Odom said. "We’ll find out about the toughness and the resolve on how we bounce back.”
VIDEO: Here’s some of my postgame interviews with Missouri’s Kelly Bryant, Albert Okwuegbunam and Martez Manuel. pic.twitter.com/Q0ugJgfdxG— Eric Blum (@ByEricBlum) October 20, 2019
Before the season began, positivity surrounded the Tigers and the potential for double-digit wins because of their schedule and talent level. Now they have to win the rest of their regular-season games to achieve that feat, with top-10 foes such as Florida and Georgia still on the slate.
Kelly Bryant finished the loss with 13 pass completions on 26 throws for 140 yards. He posted one touchdown and an interception. Bryant also led the team with 72 rushing yards.
Bryant called his interception, a throw into double coverage to the end zone intended for Albert Okwuegbunam, a “bad read” and said he should’ve found an easier pass to throw instead.
Bryant didn’t complete a pass in the third quarter and had only two completions in the second half.
“We really couldn’t get in a rhythm,” Bryant said. “It could be hard for you, it could be tough. But you know, we've got to grow from this game and go forward.”
Missouri kicker Tucker McCann missed two field goals, from 50 and 48 yards, respectively. McCann’s third missed field-goal attempt of the day from 32 yards was offset by a running into the kicker penalty.
That drive ended with Bryant’s interception.
Vanderbilt controlled the ball for the last six minutes of the game to deplete the remainder of the clock.
Despite putting pressure on all three quarterbacks the Commodores used in the game, defensive tackle Jordan Elliott was whistled for two offsides penalties on the Commodores’ final drive to help keep the MU offense on the sidelines.
“It’s been a rough patch,” Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason said of his team's 1-5 start. “But I told my team this and I want everybody to understand this: A lot of people want this job ... but I’m the man that’s built for this job. Every day we grind. Don't question us. Don't question who we are, what we do or how we play.”
Vanderbilt running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn touched the ball on 16 of the Commodores' 25 first-half snaps. He had 108 total yards in the first two quarters and two scores. The rest of the offense had a combined 70 yards to that point.
Missouri's first two drives ended with punts a week after McCann punted only once in the win over Mississippi.
MU had built momentum over the past month with five home wins in a row. Most of that now appears to be lost.
Awaiting an appeal ruling on looming NCAA sanctions, Missouri may have taken itself out of the SEC Championship picture before hearing of the decision.
Missouri will look to rebound on the road against Kentucky next Saturday.
“Coach Odom talked about it was on him, he got outcoached, but I felt the coaches gave us really good game plan this week,” Missouri center Trystan Colon-Castillo said. “And I feel like offense-wise we didn’t execute when we needed to.
“I thought the defense played lights out, they gave us ball, kept giving us the ball back. We just didn't execute. I don’t know what the answer is or anything like that yet, I've still got to watch some film, but obviously it sucks because we had a really good week of preparation.”