(Nashville) (AP) – In a matchup of James Franklins, it was the player that bested the coach this time.
Missouri quarterback James Franklin threw four touchdown passes as the Tigers cruised past coach James Franklin’s Vanderbilt Commodores 51-28.
Vanderbilt slipped to 0-3 in Southeastern Conference play and 3-3 overall with the loss heading into a bye week before facing No. 6 Georgia on Oct. 19th.
“We just got beat up front,” the second-year coach said. “I apologize to the fans and the people who came to the game. That’s not what you came to see. It’s my responsibility to have the team ready to play. Our offense came out and started with some three-and-outs and a turnover.”
Missouri (5-0, 1-0 SEC) piled up 523 yards of offense and jumped in front 20-0 in the first quarter before Vanderbilt could catch a breath.
Franklin, who was injured in last year’s matchup, picked apart the Commodores. He was sacked twice, but was comfortable hanging in the pocket as early blitzes failed to cause any pressure. The senior recorded touchdown passes of 42, 26, 15 and 11 yards.
“He is an exceptional athlete,” coach Franklin said of Franklin. “(We) couldn’t pressure the quarterback … You have to frustrate him before he goes through his progressions, and we weren’t able to do that.”
Vanderbilt quarterback Autsyn Carta-Samuels threw an interception and produced just 48 yards in the first half, which ended with the Commodores in a 30-7 hole. Carta-Samuels began the second half with a speedy scoring drive, capped with Jordan Matthews catching a 26-yard pass in the end zone.
“I’m just disappointed that we lost. I think the team is that way,” Carta-Samuels said. “You try to erase it and throw it in the back of your head and say ‘it’s over.’”
The Commodores produced just 97 yards of offense in the first half, but managed to finish with 468. Carta-Samuels said the team only left “a lot of mistakes” on the field.
Matthews provided two individual high points when he broke two school records. The senior finished with seven grabs for 123 yards.
The touchdown grab was his 22nd of his career, which passed Dan Stricker’s (1999-2002) previous program record. He also is the new owner of the most receiving yards in school history with 2,996, passing Boo Mitchell’s (1985-88).
When asked about the records, Matthews said, “it doesn’t matter.” Instead, he and his teammates agreed to focus on recovering from the loss.
“We are 0-1 but tomorrow we are going to be back 0-0,” Matthews said. “I don’t want to talk about bye weeks, I don’t believe in bye weeks because I believe every day is a game. We got 2-3 games in practice, that’s where you win the games.”
Wesley Tate added a career-night for the Commodores with six catches and 57 yards. The running back rushed for his third touchdown of the season in the second quarter as well.
Missouri, which lost at home last season 19-15 to Vanderbilt, is off to the fifth 5-0 start in coach Gary Pinkel 13 seasons. Their defense has led the way.
The Tigers have 11 interceptions so far this season, behind only Virginia Tech. The interception Saturday was the 35th consecutive game with a takeaway.
“That interception we had was huge – the time, where the ball ended up and the field position we had with it,” Pinkel said. “Every defense in the nation wants turnovers and they all work hard at it. Sometimes it gets contagious and you make things happen.”
Missouri travels to Georgia next week.