Nov 21, 2020; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; Missouri Tigers head coach Eliah Drinkwitz discusses a call against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the second quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

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Missouri continues bowl quest with matchup vs. Vanderbilt

The Missouri Tigers will continue their bowl quest when they host the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday.

The Tigers (3-3) will try to get over .500 for the first time this season.

“I’ve got a couple of screenshots of people that predicted us to only win two games,” first-year coach Eliah Drinkwitz said. “People counted us out before we got to the fight. There’s no quit in us.”

The Commodores (0-7) are coming off their best performance since their opening 17-12 loss to the Texas A&M Aggies. Vanderbilt raced to 7-0 and 10-7 leads over the Florida Gators last Saturday before falling 38-17.

“This football team is getting better,” Commodores coach Derek Mason said. “We still have some depth deficiencies on the defensive side of the ball, but we’re working hard on the back end to keep us functionally going.”

This game at Faurot Field was rescheduled from Oct. 17 due to the coronavirus depletion of Vanderbilt’s roster.

The Tigers were originally scheduled to host the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday, but the Southeastern Conference postponed that game due to positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing within the Arkansas program.

The Commodores were set to face the Tennessee Vols on Saturday, but the SEC pushed that game back so they could make up their game at Missouri instead.

“Had to flip the switch,” Drinkwitz said. “Excited about the opportunity to play. We’ve had a couple of games canceled, moved around. So I thank the SEC for finding us an opponent. It’s obviously not ideal to switch that late.”

The Tigers played with just 52 available scholarship players last week. Their injury list included guard Xavier Delgado, offensive tackle Larry Borom, nose tackle Kobie Whiteside and defensive end/outside linebacker Trajan Jeffcoat.

Drinkwitz listed those four players as “maybe” for this week. He also got defensive coordinator Ryan Walters and three players back from the coronavirus list.

Back-up quarterback Shawn Robinson remains out and guard Dylan Spencer entered the transfer portal this week.

The Commodores got healthier last week, regaining guards Drew Birchmeier and Dan Dawkins, defensive tackle Cameron Tidd and running back Ja’Veon Marlow.

Freshman quarterback Ken Seals completed 22 for 34 passes against the Gators for 319 yards and two touchdowns — both to receiver Chris Pierce. The Commodores rushed for just 87 yards, so Mason hopes to regain injured running back Keyon Henry-Brooks.

“That’ll be another tool for us as we head down to Columbia,” Mason told ESPN 102.5 radio.

On the downside, starting Commodores inside linebacker Dimitri Moore entered the transfer portal this week.

–Field Level Media

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