Sep 30, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Missouri Tigers running back Cody Schrader (7) scores on a one-yard run against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the first half at FirstBank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

No. 23 Missouri rolls to 38-21 win over Vandy

Brady Cook threw for 395 yards and four touchdowns, leading No. 23 Missouri to a 38-21 win over host Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday.

Cook picked apart the Commodores (2-4, 0-2 SEC) from start to finish. He hit 33-of-41 throws and didn’t throw an interception. He threw two scores to Luther Burden (11 catches, 140 yards) and one each to Theo Wease (10-118) and Marquis Johnson (3-64).

Vanderbilt benched starting quarterback AJ Swann for Ken Seals (20 of 31, 259 yards, two touchdowns, one pick), who made his first start since 2021. Vandy lost its fourth consecutive game, anyway.

The Tigers (5-0, 1-0) took a 24-7 lead with 10:37 left in the third quarter when Cook hit a diving Burden with an 18-yard, over-the-shoulder touchdown grab.

Seals threw a pick to Missouri’s Kris Abrams-Draine in the end zone with 2:23 left in the third. After the Tigers failed on a fourth-down attempt, Seals hit Will Sheppard with consecutive throws of 29 and 31 yards, the last for a score with 12:59 left.

Cook hit Johnson with a perfect 44-yard scoring strike with 11:10 to play, restoring the Tigers’ to lead 17.

Seals countered with a 45-yard throw to freshman Junior Sherrill for his first career score with 9:36 left.

After Missouri’s punt, the Commodores went for it on fourth-and-4 from their 32, but an Austin Firestone sack ended the drive.

Cook then hit Burden with another over-the-shoulder throw with 4:23 left to push the lead to 17.

Missouri used a slow, methodical, ball-control approach with its offense in amassing a 17-7 lead at the break. Despite kicking off, the Tigers outsnapped Vandy (39-25) and outgained the Commodores (263-98) in the first half and had 16 first downs.

Against Vandy’s starting freshmen corners Martel Hight and Trudell Berry, Cook was 20-for-24 for 217 yards in the first half, with a touchdown and no picks, including seven completions to Wease for 97 yards.

The Tigers’ first-half scores came on Cook’s 12-yard throw to Wease with 55 seconds left in the second quarter, Cody Schrader’s second-quarter scoring run and Harrison Mavis’s 23-yard field goal.

Vandy’s first-half points came on Seals’s 1-yard keeper.

–Field Level Media

Sep 23, 2023; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Memphis Tigers defensive lineman Josh Ellison (4) attempts to block a pass from Missouri Tigers quarterback Brady Cook (12) in the first quarter at The Dome at America's Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports

Brady Cook’s big night helps Missouri hold off Memphis

Brady Cook passed for 341 yards and two touchdowns to drive Missouri to a 34-27 victory over Memphis on Saturday in a nonconference game at St. Louis.

Luther Burden III caught 10 passes for 177 yards for Missouri (4-0). Cody Schrader rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, and Nathaniel Peat produced 65 yards and a TD on 15 carries.

Seth Henigan completed 31 of 47 passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns for Memphis (3-1). He was intercepted twice.

Blake Watson amassed 130 total yards and a touchdown for Memphis, and Roc Taylor caught seven passes for 143 yards.

On Missouri’s third offensive play, Cook hit Marquis Johnson in stride for a 76-yard touchdown pass.

Memphis responded with a 12-play, 50-yard drive that cut Missouri’s lead to 7-3 on Tanner Gillis’ 43-yard field goal. The key play was Henigan’s 11-yard pass to Demeer Blankumsee on fourth-and-8.

After Schrader lost a fumble on his 10-yard line, Memphis capitalized with Henigan’s 3-yard, fourth-down TD pass to Joseph Scates to move ahead 10-7.

Missouri surged ahead 14-10 with a nine-play, 75-yard drive, capped off by Peat’s 1-yard TD plunge. That score was set up by Burden’s 20-yard catch-and-run play.

Harrison Mevis made it 17-10 at the half with his 25-yard field goal to cap a 78-yard Missouri drive.

Spurred by Cook’s 56-yard pass to Burden, Missouri moved 76 yards in three plays to increase its lead to 24-10. Cook finished the drive with a 19-yard TD pass to Theo Wease Jr.

Memphis cut its deficit to 24-17 with a six-play, 69-yard touchdown drive. Watson finished it off with his 13-yard scoring catch and run.

Mevis hit a 32-yard field goal with 11:01 to play to cap a 74-yard drive and increase Missouri’s lead to 27-17.

Gillis answered with 22-yard field goal with 5:18 left, cutting the deficit to seven. Henigan’s 26-yard pass to Taylor on a fourth-and-3 play spurred the 72-yard drive.

Schrader’s 37-yard TD run with 2:46 left made it 34-20, and Memphis cut the gap to 34-27 on Koby Drake’s 21-yard TD catch with 1:21 to go.

–Field Level Media

The celebration begins after Missouri kicker Harrison Mevis's game-winning field goal during a game against Kansas State at Memorial Stadium on Sept. 16, 2023, in Columbia, Mo.

Missouri, Memphis meet in battle of Tigers in St. Louis

Upsetting then-No. 15 Kansas State 30-27 at home gave Missouri (3-0) its best start since 2018.

Head coach Eli Drinkwitz, now 20-19 at Missouri, will try to build on the potential breakthrough against Memphis (3-0, 1-0 in American Athletic Conference) Saturday in The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis.

He praised his team’s ability to overcome momentum shifts to edge Kansas State.

“That’s the type of game that we need as a team and an organization,” Drinkwitz said.

Now he’ll need to gauge their ability to adjust on the fly if quarterback Brady Cook misses time.

Cook delivered his career-best performance for Missouri: 23-for-35 for 356 yards and two touchdowns despite suffering a hyperextended knee. Drinkwitz said Cook would miss practice Tuesday due to the injury and is considered day-to-day.

Receiver Luther Burden III (seven catches, 114 yards, two touchdowns) enjoyed his second straight 100-yard receiving game. But the big hero was Harrison Mevis, whose 61-yard field goal won the game as time expired.

“That was truly a dream,” Cook said of the scene last week.

If he’s unavailable, redshirt freshman Sam Horn would be the starter for Mizzou.

“Fired up for these fans,” Drinkwitz said on building excitement around his program. “Our fans, storming the field, deserve that. The gold on that field was beautiful. I know our fans have been waiting a long time.”

Memphis is coming off a 28-24 victory at home over Navy.

The Tigers prevailed despite allowing the Midshipmen to build an edge in total yardage (432-408) and time of possession (32:49 to 27:11).

“A win is a win at the end of the day,” Memphis running back Blake Watson said. “We’re always going to have something to clean up, no matter how many we win by, no matter how we look.”

Watson gained 146 yards of his 169 yards rushing in the second half. He also caught six passes for 68 yards overall.

Quarterback Seth Hanigan completed 23 of 35 passes for 218 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He took a big hit in the game and briefly exited to be checked for a concussion.

Memphis is preparing for the Missouri defense, which ranked fourth in the SEC last season in yards allowed per game.

“They’re big, they’re physical,” Memphis coach Ryan Silverfield said. “You watch what they did against Kansas State, they were effective in a lot of different ways. Kansas State was the 15th-ranked team in the country for a reason.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 16, 2023; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback Brady Cook (12) and wide receiver Luther Burden III (3) celebrate after a touchdown during the second half against the Kansas State Wildcats at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri QB Brady Cook (hyperextended knee) day-to-day

Missouri starting quarterback Brady Cook hyperextended his knee during Saturday’s upset win over then-No. 15 Kansas State, Tigers coach Eli Drinkwitz confirmed Tuesday.

Drinkwitz said Cook did not sustain any ligament damage and will sit out practice on Tuesday. Drinkwitz termed him as day-to-day, while an ESPN report said Cook was questionable for Missouri’s game against visiting Memphis this Saturday.

If Cook can’t play, Sam Horn and Jake Garcia are next up on the depth chart.

“We have confidence in every one of our guys, Sam and Jake. I have high confidence in them,” running back Cody Schrader said. “So I don’t think we’ll miss a beat on offense. But losing a guy like Brady, when he’s day-to-day, definitely just having that in the back of your head definitely makes you wonder.”

Cook suffered the injury during the game but played through the pain. He finished 23-of-35 passing for 356 yards and two touchdowns in the 30-27 win decided on Harrison Mevis’ 61-yard field goal at the final horn.

In parts of four seasons at Missouri, Cook has thrown for 3,888 yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He has 732 yards, five touchdowns and zero picks this year.

–Field Level Media

Sep 16, 2023; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback Brady Cook (12) scores a touchdown against Kansas State Wildcats defensive end Brendan Mott (38) during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri stuns No. 15 K-State with last-second, 61-yard FG

Harrison Mevis kicked an SEC-record, 61-yard field goal as time expired as host Missouri defeated No. 15 Kansas State 30-27 Saturday in Columbia, Mo.

The previous record for an SEC field goal was 60 yards, which three kickers accomplished. The Missouri record is a 62-yarder by Tom Whelihan in 1986.

The Tigers went 38 yards in 1:25 to set up the game-winning kick.

Brady Cook connected with Luther Burden for two touchdowns, including a go-ahead score midway through the fourth quarter. Cook finished with a career-high 356 passing yards for Missouri (3-0).

It was the 99th meeting between the former conference rivals, but the first one in Columbia since 2010.

Will Howard was 25-of-39 passing for 270 yards, with three touchdowns and one interception for Kansas State (2-1).

K-State tied the score at 17-all early in the second half on a 46-yard field goal by Chris Tennant. After forcing Missouri’s fourth straight punt, Howard found Ben Sinnott for a 3-yard touchdown late in the third quarter. The Wildcats scored twice previously on the drive but were flagged before Sinnott’s grab.

Mevis cut the deficit to 24-20 with a 25-yard field goal.

Cook then found Burden in the flat and Burden raced untouched into the end zone for his second touchdown of the day and a 27-24 Mizzou lead with 8:24 left in the game. Tennant tied the score with a 26-yard field goal with 5:25 left.

The first half was back and forth. K-State marched down the field on an 11-play, 75-yard opening drive, capped by a 10-yard pass from Howard to Phillip Brooks. Mizzou responded with a 47-yard touchdown pass from Cook to Burden, who got wide open behind the K-State secondary.

On the next K-State drive, Howard threw an interception for the third straight game. The Tigers responded with a Mevis 30-yard field goal for a 10-7 lead. It was the first time this season that K-State has trailed.

Mevis missed a 53-yard attempt early in the second quarter with a chance to extend the lead. On the ensuing drive, Howard found Sinnott on a 3-yard touchdown pass to give K-State a 14-10 lead.

Missouri regained the lead quickly on a 1-yard sneak by Cook, as the Tigers tried a fourth-down conversion for the first time this season to take a 17-14 halftime lead.

–Field Level Media

Aug 31, 2023; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback Brady Cook (12) throws a pass against the South Dakota Coyotes during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Its QB battle over, Missouri faces Middle Tennessee next

Missouri coach Eliah Drinkwitz allowed his quarterback competition to extend into the season, but it appears settled now.

Incumbent Brady Cook excelled as Missouri handled visiting South Dakota 35-10 in its opener.

Cook figures to take the leading role Saturday when the Tigers (1-0) of the Southeastern Conference welcome Middle Tennessee (0-1) of Conference USA to Columbia, Mo.

Cook completed 17 of 21 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown while playing just the first half. He also had a 15-yard scoring run.

Sam Horn played the second half and completed 3 of 5 passes for 54 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

“Brady scored 28,” Drinkwitz told SEC Network. “And Sam scored seven. So, that’s my initial thoughts. We will go back and look at the tape and see what it was. But, at the end of the day, we are judged on who gets the team in the end zone the most.”

Cody Schrader rushed for 138 yards and a touchdown behind the zone blocking scheme implemented by new Missouri offensive coordinator Kirby Moore.

The Tigers will seek improvement in their kicking game after Harrison Mevis missed field goal tries from 48 and 34 yards.

“That’s something that’s got to get corrected in a hurry,” Drinkwitz said.

Middle Tennessee is coming off a 56-7 loss to Alabama. The Blue Raiders hung tough well into the second quarter, but they buckled after Zeke Rankin missed a 32-yard field goal that would have cut their deficit to 14-3.

“I was proud of our team and how we fought, how we competed extremely hard,” Blue Raiders coach Rick Stockstill said. “When you play teams like this, you gotta play perfect, and we didn’t play perfect. But I like our team. I told them … we’re gonna have a heck of a team this year, heck of a year.”

Quarterback Nicholas Vattiato completed 21 of 32 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown against Alabama. He also had a 30-yard run.

But the Crimson Tide held the Blue Raiders to 78 rushing yards on 26 carries and outgained them 431-211 overall.

“We just got to make corrections where we made mistakes and get ready for another really good SEC team,” Stockstill said.

–Field Level Media

Aug 31, 2023; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback Brady Cook (12) runs the ball as South Dakota Coyotes linebacker Brock Mogensen (49) defends during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Brady Cook accounts for two TDs to fuel Missouri past South Dakota

Brady Cook passed for one touchdown and ran for another as the Missouri Tigers opened their season with a 35-10 victory over the South Dakota Coyotes on Thursday in Columbia, Mo.

Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz used the game to extend his quarterback competition. Cook completed 17 of 21 passes for 172 yards and ran for 17 more.

Sam Horn replaced him for the second half and completed 3 of 5 passes for 54 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Luther Burden caught seven passes for 96 yards and a touchdown and Mekhi Miller caught two passes for 49 yards and a TD for the Tigers (1-0).

Cody Schrader rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown for Missouri and Nathaniel Peat totaled 86 rushing and receiving yards and one TD.

Aidan Bouman completed 15 of 25 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown for the Coyotes (0-1).

Missouri outrushed South Dakota 221-38 and built a 447-194 advantage in total yards.

The Tigers took a 7-0 lead on their second possession of the game, on Cook’s 18-yard pass to Miller.

Missouri converted a partially blocked punt into a short field and a 14-0 lead on its next possession. Peat moved the ball with runs of 6, 13, 8 and 5 yards before scoring from the 1-yard line to cap a 38-yard drive.

South Dakota’s Will Leyland hit a 40-yard field goal with 7:06 left in the second quarter to cut Missouri’s lead to 14-3.

The Tigers countered with an 81-yard drive with Schrader rushing the ball eight times for 52 yards and a touchdown. He scored from 2 yards out as Missouri increased its lead to 21-3.

Missouri needed just 52 seconds to move 83 yards and tack on another touchdown with 33 seconds left in the first half. Cook completed passes of 30 yards to Burden and 15 yards to Peat to advance the ball, then he finished the drive with a 15-yard TD run on a quarterback draw.

Myles Harden put South Dakota into scoring position with his interception and 23-yard return with 13:22 left to play. The Coyotes capitalized with Bouman’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Mike Mansaray to trim Missouri’s lead to 28-10.

Missouri capped its scoring with Horn’s 15-yard TD pass to Burden with 1:42 left to play.

–Field Level Media

Dec 23, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback Brady Cook (12) throws a pass against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during the first quarter in the 2022 Gasparilla Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri leaning on two QBs in opener vs. South Dakota

Missouri’s quarterback competition will continue Thursday when the Tigers host FCS foe South Dakota to open their season.

Incumbent starter Brady Cook and redshirt freshman Sam Horn are both expected to face the Coyotes in Columbia, Mo.

Cook completed 247 of 382 passes for 2,724 yards and 14 touchdowns last season for the Tigers, who finished 6-7 and lost to Wake Forest in the Gasparilla Bowl. He also rushed for 585 yards and six touchdowns.

After recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, Cook had a strong camp showing.

“I thought he did a nice job being efficient throwing the football,” Tigers coach Eli Drinkwitz said. “He’s really steady, knows the offense, digests plays. He’s a smart, disciplined decision-maker. We’re continuing to improve our third-down efficiency.”

Horn’s downfield passing ability vaulted him in the quarterback competition.

“With Sam … he extends and makes throws down the field that that he makes just because he’s such a big body,” Drinkwitz said. “We’ll see both, I anticipate, in the first game and then kind of play it from there.”

Drinkwitz has turned over play-calling duties to new offensive coordinator Kirby Moore, who has running backs Cody Schrader (744 yards, nine touchdowns rushing) and Nathaniel Peat (425 yards, two TDs) and a rebuilt offensive line to work with.

Missouri is also seeking a breakout season from sophomore receiver Luther Burden III (45 catches, 375 yards, six TDs).

The Tigers return the bulk of their defense, which ranked fourth in the Southeastern Conference last season while holding opponents to an average of 339.9 yards.

But they will play without injured linebacker Chad Bailey, who is a key component in their 4-2-5 scheme. Drinkwitz said Bailey will be sidelined for “21 days, maybe less, maybe more.”

South Dakota, a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference, is coming off a 3-8 season.

“This team is different,” coach Bob Nielson said. “The depth of leadership we’ve got on our football team this year is different. As a result of that, our team’s desire to win — their melting together — has also been different. There’s a lot of passion in this football team, which I’m really excited about. Maybe that’s weird coming off the season we had, but that tells us something about the character of the guys we’ve got right now.”

The Coyotes’ offense is led by returning quarterback Aidan Bouman (80-for-132, 892 yards, eight touchdowns last season) and running back Travis Theis (775 yards rushing, five TDs).

South Dakota is also operating with a new offensive coordinator: Josh Davis, who was the passing game coordinator on South Dakota State’s national championship team last season.

“Systematically, we look different,” Nielson said. “The thing that fans will notice the most is multiple formations, more changes in terms of motions and shifts that you see maybe a little bit more on Sundays than you do on Saturdays if you’re a football watcher — by that meaning we look a little bit more like some of the things you see in the NFL opposed to the traditional spread offense in college.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 23, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback Brady Cook (12) drops back to pass against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in the first quarter in the 2022 Gasparilla Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri to open season with two-QB system

Missouri coach Eliah Drinkwitz plans to take his time — and see some more reps — before naming a starting quarterback.

Drinkwitz told reporters late Saturday that he plans to play incumbent starter Brady Cook and Sam Horn in the first two games of the season before making any decisions on a full-time QB.

“In this day and age of college football, I think you can very easily see a couple quarterbacks play in the first couple of games and let the play on the field decide it,” Drinkwitz said.

Cook, a junior from St. Louis, started all 13 games for Missouri last season. He threw for 2,724 yards and 14 touchdowns against seven interceptions. He ran for 585 yards and six more scores.

Horn, a redshirt freshman, made one appearance last season. On Nov. 19 against New Mexico State, he threw two incomplete passes and ran once for 10 yards.

The Tigers were 6-7 in 2022.

Missouri will open the 2023 season with a pair of home games — Aug. 31 against South Dakota and Sept. 9 vs. Middle Tennessee State before Kansas State comes to Columbia on Sept. 16.

The Tigers will begin Southeastern Conference play two weeks later against Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn.

–Field Level Media

Nov 12, 2022; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Missouri Tigers head coach Eliah Drinkwitz reacts to an officials call during the second half against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Five-star DE Williams Nwaneri chooses Missouri

The No. 3 overall prospect in the Class of 2024 is staying in-state to play his college football, and that’s welcome news for Missouri.

Five-star defensive end Williams Nwaneri committed to the Tigers on Monday, choosing them over Georgia, Oklahoma, Oregon and Tennessee.

The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder is considered the No. 1 defensive end and the No. 3 overall prospect by the 247Sports composite rankings. He hails from Lee’s Summit, Mo.

Nwaneri is the second five-star to commit to Missouri since Eliah Drinkwitz became head coach in December 2019. The first was wide receiver Luther Burden, who is now entering his sophomore season there.

Missouri now has 12 players committed for the Class of 2024. Per 247, only one of the previous 11 commits was a four-star.

–Field Level Media