Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Missouri-Vanderbilt Five Things to Watch

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Missouri-Vanderbilt Five Things to Watch

Article excerpt

1. Will Missouri rule the trenches again?

Will the Tigers offense manhandle a third straight SEC opponent on the line of scrimmage?

Behind an increasingly sturdy offensive line and the two-headed tailback tandem of Ish Witter and Larry Rountree III, the Tigers pummeled Florida and Tennessee on the ground. There's no reason they can't do the same to Vanderbilt. The Commodores have given up 496 rushing yards to Alabama, 423 to Georgia, 252 to Ole Miss, 232 to Kentucky. SEC opponents have rushed for 26 touchdowns in six games against Vandy.

2. Can Odom's secondary pass another test?

Unlike Florida and Tennessee, Vanderbilt actually has a functional passing game, the kind with an offensive line that blocks, a quarterback who can throw and receivers who can catch. Junior quarterback Kyle Shurmur has thrown 21 touchdown passes, seven more than Florida and Tennessee have managed through the air combined this season. After facing two lifeless passing attacks the last two weeks, Mizzou's secondary has to be prepared for more of a downfield threat in Nashville.

3. Can Vandy cool off Drew Lock?

Drew Lock continues to torch the record books. Missouri's junior quarterback leads the country with 35 touchdown passes. Five more and he owns Mizzou's single-season record, held by Chase Daniel, who threw 39 in 14 games in 2007. Six more and Lock eclipses the SEC single-season mark, set by Kentucky's Andre Woodson in 2007. More dazzling performances and Lock's NFL draft stock could continue to climb.

4. Will Mizzou's pass rush turn up the heat?

Missouri's pass rush barely existed through the season's first six games, especially along the edges of the defensive line. Now, through 10 games, the Tigers have matched last year's sack total (27) and lead the SEC in tackles behind the line of scrimmage (77). A year ago, MU unleashed its pass rush against Vandy and finished with six sacks. The same could happen in Nashville.

5. Redemption game for MU's Hall?

Mizzou's roster includes a few players from the Nashville area, including a starter out to prove the Commodores blew a chance to sign a local product. …

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