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Saturday, October 6, 2012
Missouri's woes continue against Vandy

By David Helman

It's the halfway point of the 2012 season, and Missouri is still looking for the first win of its SEC tenure.

The Tigers dropped their third conference game of 2012 in an ugly 19-15 loss to Vanderbilt on Saturday night, and with No. 1 Alabama looming as the next opponent, it might have been their last opportunity for a couple of weeks.

Even more disheartening for the SEC East's newest member is that the Tigers outplayed the Commodores for much of Saturday night. Missouri racked up 395 yards of offense to Vanderbilt's 295. The Tigers also won the rushing battle with 150 yards on the ground to Vanderbilt's 89 -- another indicator of success. But injuries reared up again for Missouri quarterback James Franklin, who left the game in the first half with an apparent knee injury and did not return. In his place, backup Corbin Berkstresser struggled to find success against a stingy Vanderbilt secondary and finished with just nine completions.

Both defenses held the upper hand for most of the night, with the Commodores taking a 9-6 halftime lead. Vanderbilt benefited from a workmanlike night from running back Zac Stacy, who rushed 29 times for 72 yards and two scores. The Commodores took a 16-9 lead early in the fourth quarter on the second of Stacy's touchdown runs.

It looked like Berkstresser had broken through on the ensuing possession when he found receiver Bud Sasser for an 85-yard touchdown strike, cutting the Commodore lead to 16-15. But Vanderbilt responded by taking its next possession 78 yards to the Missouri 3-yard line, where kicker Carey Spear connected on a 21-yard field goal for the final margin.

Berkstresser led the Tigers as close as the Vanderbilt 25-yard line, but he could not buy a completion on 4th-and-11, and the Commodores took over on downs to preserve the win.