The Vanderbilt Commodores (2-5, 0-4 SEC) travel to Columbia, Mo., to face the Missouri Tigers (5-2, 2-1) on Saturday. The Commodores are coming off a bye week that followed a 21-20 win over Charleston Southern in Week 7. The Tigers are looking to continue momentum after capturing a 42-13 victory at Florida last Saturday.

Despite the win, the Tigers saw another disappointing performance from quarterback Maty Mauk. The sophomore threw for 20 yards and an interception on 6-of-18 passing, while rushing for 38 on seven attempts. Mauk has struggled in SEC play this season, failing to score a single touchdown against conference opponents.

The dual-threat quarterback entered with high expectations after showing potential while replacing injured starter James Franklin in several games last season. However, Mauk is coming off back-to-back weeks with under 100 all-purpose yards and five total interceptions.

Vanderbilt ranks No. 75 overall in total defense, No. 97 in passing efficiency defense and No. 83 in rushing defense. The Commodores have a -6 turnover margin and have allowed 34 points per game and 415.9 yards per game.

The one bright spot for Vanderbilt has been middle linebacker Nigel Bowden. Bowden leads the Commodores with 54 tackles and is averaging 7.7 per game. The redshirt freshman has seen a progression through the season and recorded a career-best 10 tackles against Charleston Southern in Week 7.

Bowden has been a tackling machine during his first season as the Commodores’ starting linebacker. He will need to show maturity and leadership facing an offense capable of seeing success.

Mauk must also step up for Missouri in a favorable matchup. The sophomore has the perfect opportunity to revive his perception with a strong performance against a struggling Vanderbilt defense. Mauk should see his best SEC performance this season as the Tigers capture bowl eligibility with a win at home.