No. 23 Missouri Tigers Finally Open Sec Play Visiting Skidding Vanderbilt

Missouri wide receiver Luther Burden III, left, and running back Cody Schrader celebrate a 34-27 victory over Memphis in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Missouri wide receiver Luther Burden III, left, and running back Cody Schrader celebrate a 34-27 victory over Memphis in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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No. 23 Missouri (4-0, 0-0 SEC) at Vanderbilt (2-3, 0-0), Saturday, 4 p.m. ET (SEC Network)

Line: Missouri by 13 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series: Missouri leads 9-4-1.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Not only is Missouri the last Southeastern Conference team to play a league game, this also marks the Tigers' first trip outside their home state. Their opening winning streak has the Tigers ranked for the first time since Oct. 23, 2019, and they want to stay there with No. 13 LSU visiting next. Vanderbilt wraps up a two-game home stand trying to snap a three-game skid before hitting the SEC road with a trip to No. 22 Florida.

KEY MATCHUP

Vanderbilt's young and banged-up secondary against Missouri WR Luther Burden III. The sophomore receiver is coming off a career performance for a fourth straight game after catching 10 passes for 177 yards in Missouri's win over Memphis. He has posted three straight games with 100 or more yards receiving and five straight with five or more catches. He leads all of FBS with 216 yards after the catch.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Missouri quarterback Brady Cook ranks 10th among FBS quarterbacks with a 185.2 passing efficiency. He has thrown for 687 yards and four touchdowns combined over the last two games. That includes a 76-yard TD pass to WR Marquis Johnson.

Vanderbilt quarterback AJ Swann is questionable with a bruised elbow on his right, passing arm. He ranks second in the SEC with 11 TD passes and 1,290 yards. He has thrown for three or more TDs four times in his first 12 starts but was pulled late in last week's loss to Kentucky. He's 10th in FBS nationally with 76 responsible for 76 points. But he also had a pair of passes picked off and returned for TDs in the 45-28 loss to Kentucky.

FACTS & FIGURES

Four of the last five games in this series have been decided by nine points or less.. Missouri has won three straight and is 3-2 in Nashville. ... This is the first of just four games outside of Missouri for the Tigers this season. ... Missouri finished nonconference play undefeated for the 10th time since 2000 and first since 2018. ... Missouri RB Cody Schrader ranks fourth among active NCAA players with 4,217 yards rushing. He leads the SEC averaging 100.75 yards per game. ... Missouri K Harrison Mevis has a program record 68 career made field goals. ... Vanderbilt has recovered eight turnovers, most in the SEC and 20th in FBS. ... John Howse IV got the first interception of his career last week for Vanderbilt, and Jeffrey Ugochukwu got his first later the same game. That's the second game this season Vanderbilt has had two interceptions this season.

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll