COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri has found the antidote.
After four straight losses to Tennessee, the last two by a combined margin of 128-48, the Tigers rallied in dominant fashion, stifling the nation’s best running game as MU running back Cody Schrader recorded a historic performance on the ground.
No. 16 Mizzou (8-2, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) defeated the No. 14 Volunteers (7-3, 3-3 SEC) 36-7 at home Saturday afternoon, taking an early lead and taking advantage of ‘a full day. of the SEC’s leading running back.
Schrader ran for 205 yards, added 116 receiving yards and scored a touchdown. With those 321 total yards, he is only the second player in MU history to rush for more than 300 yards from scrimmage, according to an athletic department statistician. The former Division II running back and Lutheran South graduate also became the first Mizzou player to total at least 90 yards rushing and receiving.
Schrader started early, coming out of the backfield and committing to a long route, finding himself wide open down the field for a rolling Brady Cook to find a 38-yard gain on the first play of the game.
Missouri’s defense also played one of its best games of the season, limiting Tennessee to 350 total offensive yards. Despite the presence of the Vols’ dynamic three-headed backfield, the visitors managed just 83 yards on the ground.
The last time MU beat a team ranked 14th or higher in the AP poll was 2018, when Mizzou beat No. 13 Florida on the road.
Despite a strong start to the first drive following Schrader’s catch, the Tigers’ momentum fizzled. On the edge of the Volunteers’ red zone, Cook attempted to force the ball to star receiver Luther Burden III. The ball was returned to the line of scrimmage, allowing senior safety Jaylen McCollough to jump the crossing route and return the interception back into Mizzou territory.
The Tigers’ second drive was considerably longer than the first — and it ended with a field goal. The possession began with 10:11 left in the first quarter and ended 21 plays later at 14:16 in the second quarter. Schrader’s typical tough run brought MU close to the goal line, but an illegal formation penalty and a third-down sack relegated the 72-yard drive to a Harrison Mevis field goal for a 3-0 lead.
Tennessee’s first touchdown came on a 46-yard pass to wide receiver Dont’e Thornton, who managed to keep one hand under the ball while sliding to complete the catch, giving the Vols a 7 lead -3. A holding penalty and an open field stop by Mizzou cornerback Ennis Rakestraw Jr. had forced UT into a third-and-nine when quarterback Joe Milton III made the throw.
MU’s first play in response was another long completion from Schrader, who took a wheel route in the flat and 43 yards down the field. A 22-yard completion by Mekhi Miller brought the Tigers close to the end zone, where Schrader punched a seven-yard gap to give Missouri the lead, 10-7.
With starting weak linebacker Ty’Ron Hopper out of the game due to injury in the second quarter, backup Triston Newson teamed up with cornerback Kris Abrams-Draine for a defensive play. They knocked the ball out of UT running back Jaylen Wright’s hands for Chuck Hicks to fall on it, giving the Tigers a final first-half possession from their own 18-yard line with 20 seconds on the clock.
Enter Schrader. He completed a handoff intended to run the clock down to halftime for 35 yards, then wisely dropped to the turf on a subsequent handoff so MU could call a timeout and give Mevis the chance to kick a 46-yard field goal through the uprights just before. the break. The 20-second goal gave Mizzou a 13-7 halftime lead.
The Volunteers found no offensive momentum in the locker room, letting the ball hit the ground on an option throw before making a tackle for a loss and going three-and-out.
The Missouri, however, had plenty of firepower. A straight line route left freshman speedster Marquis Johnson so open he could have run straight to Mizzou Arena without being hit. Cook overthrew him, but a 48-yard catch set up a score. Cook scored by faking a throw and sliding up the middle for a three-yard touchdown. A two-point conversion try aimed at Miller fell incomplete, leaving the Tigers’ lead at 19-7.
A dropped first down and a near interception by Daylan Carnell foiled the Vols’ attempted response.
Mizzou’s grit showed on its next touchdown run. Cook absorbed an illegal hit out of bounds, coming back to face a Tennessee linebacker while hauling in another 15 yards. Four handoffs and two passes to Schrader brought the Tigers within field goal range, where Mevis of the day extended the lead to 22-7.
With just under 12 minutes left, Tennessee began to drive, but chaos was on the home team’s side. Vols running back Dylan Sampson’s outstretched elbow released the ball as Milton tried to throw it. A video review determined the play was a fumble, giving Missouri the ball at its own 34-yard line, up by two scores and able to drain the clock and seal a victory.
Burden delivered, sneaking into the end zone on a catch-and-run from 21 yards out to make the game 29-7.
And if that wasn’t enough, Carnell finally completed one of Milton’s many vulnerable passes, skipping a route and hauling a head of steam into the end zone for an exclamation point in the shape of six. This put Missouri ahead 36-7.
Tennessee missed a meaningless field goal — after MU coach Eli Drinkwitz iced the kicker — late in the fourth quarter.
Mizzou hosts Florida (5-4, 3-3 SEC) at 6:30 p.m. on November 18.