NASHVILLE, TN--The Missouri offense will get the headlines, and rightfully so, after scoring on each of its first eight possessions in a 51-28 win over Vanderbilt. But it was a defensive play that indicated this one would be lopsided early.
With the Tigers leading 10-0, Kentrell Brothers intercepted Vanderbilt quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels on third and six at the Commodore 19. Brothers returned it to the 11 and Missouri scored on a James Franklin to Eric Waters touchdown pass on the very next play. Just seven minutes and six seconds into the game, Mizzou led 17-0.
Vanderbilt never got closer than 13 points the rest of the way.
"They were running a little play action pass and I turned around and looked for somebody to match and there was nobody behind me," Brothers said. "I turned around and looked at the quarterback and I saw the running back in there so I just tried to bait him to throw it right to me and he did. A couple linemen tried to get me, I guess I was too slow, I couldn't take it to the end zone."
"That's something we always want to work on is scoring points off turnovers. Not just points, but touchdowns," Franklin said. "Kentrell did a good job intercepting it and he joked around after saying he wanted me to get a touchdown, that's why he didn't run it back."
The pick was Missouri's 11th of the season, putting the Tigers into a three-way tie for second nationally. Virginia Tech leads way with 13. All of last season, Mizzou intercepted just seven passes.
"That's what we preach every day in practice," E.J. Gaines said. "Only having seven last year, that wasn't acceptable and we knew that. Coming out this year, we really concentrated on getting interceptions, getting takeaways."
The interception was Brothers' second of the season, putting him one behind Gaines for the team lead. And the sophomore let the senior captain know about it.
"I told E.J., I'm coming for him," Brothers said.
"I know," Gaines responded. "I got to pick it up."
Pick it up or pick it off. It's working well for Mizzou's defense so far this season. The interception marked the 35th consecutive game in which the Tigers have forced a turnover. School officials believe it to be the longest such streak in college football.
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