MO State HS Sports

No. 23 Football Beats Vanderbilt 38-21 In SEC Opener

Theo Wease Jr._BANNER_2023_Vanderbilt

NASHVILLE – Brady Cook threw for over 300 yards for the third straight game and Luther Burden III had more than 100 receiving yards for the fourth week in a row to lead the 23rd-ranked Missouri Tigers (5-0, 1-0) to a 38-21 victory in their Southeastern Conference opener over the Vanderbilt Commodores (2-4, 0-2) at FirstBank Stadium.

Vanderbilt took two shots at the Tigers in the fourth quarter, scoring a pair of touchdowns, but Cook answered both times and got a little help from the Missouri defense.

After Vandy gained some momentum with a 31-yard touchdown pass from Ken Seals to Will Sheppard with 12:59 to play, Cook took the wind out of the Commodores’ sails with a 44-yard touchdown pass over the top of the defense to a streaking Marquis Johnson to increase MU’s lead to 31-14.

But Vanderbilt struck right back with a 27-yard pass to Sheppard and then a 45-yard TD on a deep post to Junior Sherrill to close within 31-21. The Commodores forced a MU punt and took over at their own 15-yard line. On fourth-and-four at the 32, Austin Firestone sacked Seals for a loss of 13 yards – his first career sack – and Cook took advantage with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Burden.

Cook completed 33-of-41 passes for a career-high 395 yards and four touchdowns. He also extended his streak of pass attempts without an interception to a SEC record 348 – breaking the old mark of 325 held by former Kentucky QB Andre Woodson.

Burden caught 11 passes for 140 yards and Theo Wease Jr. snared 10 for 118 – both marks his highs since transferring to Missouri. They’re the first MU duo with over 100 yards receiving since 2018 (Albert Okwuegbunam, 159, and Jalen Knox, 109, against Memphis).

Missouri scored two unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter after trailing 7-3, for a 17-7 halftime lead, then scored again coming out of the locker room to go up 24-7.

The Tigers got a 23-yard field goal from Harrison Mevis in the first quarter, scoring on their opening possession for the third straight game. Seals put Vanderbilt ahead minutes later on a six-yard TD run.

After the kickoff, Missouri put together an 85-yard drive that spanned the 1st and 2nd quarters. Wease delivered more than half of that with three receptions for 46 yards, and Cody Schrader scooted around left end to put the Tigers up, 10-7.

Mizzou scored with 55 seconds before halftime on a 12-yard TD pass to Wease who made a leaping catch at the goal line. He caught two other passes on the drive for 27 yards, one a 19-yarder in which he spun out of a tackle and took the ball to the 12-yard line. Burden had a 24-yard reception earlier in the 59-yard drive.

Burden got the Tigers started in the second half, catching a short pass and turning it into a 26-yard gain. Seven plays later, he made a diving over-the-shoulder catch in the right corner of the endzone for a 18-yard touchdown.

Vanderbilt threatened late in the third quarter, converting a fourth-and-three play with a 21-yard completion to the MU 10-yard line, but on the next play, Kris Abrams-Draine intercepted Seals’ pass in the end zone – his third interception in as many games.

The Tigers rolled up 532 total yards to Vandy’s 300 and had nearly a 12-minute advantage in time of possession. Nathaniel Peat (71) and Schrader (60) combined for 131 rushing yards.

Daylan Carnell led the MU tackles with 7. Ty’Ron Hopper added 6 including a tackle for loss. Besides his interception, Abrams-Draine had 5 tackles and broke up a pass.


The Tigers return home for their SEC home-opener against the LSU Tigers. Game time on Saturday, Oct. 7, is 11 a.m. CT at sold-out Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field. The game will be televised on ESPN and air on Tiger Radio Network. 

This article is provided by University of Missouri Athletics