Tennessee (4-5, 0-5 SEC) travels to Columbia to take on Missouri (4-5, 1-4 SEC) with hopes to take down the red-hot Tigers and get its first conference win of the season.
The Vols will have to stop a tough combination of Tiger quarterback Drew Lock, running backs Ish Witter and Larry Roundtree III and receiver J’Mon Moore to bring a win back to Knoxville. The line is as big as 13 points to Mizzou’s favor by some oddsmakers. Here’s what our panel thinks of the matchup.
Tennessee won’t be able to keep up with Mizzou’s high-flying offense. The Tigers’ defense has been playing against bad competition in the last three weeks, but has been playing well and with confidence. The unit should win in the trenches against a beat-up Tennessee offensive line.
If Jarrett Guarantano remains healthy throughout the game, the Vols’ offense has a prayer, but I’m taking Mizzou.
Missouri 30, Tennessee 13
Key Players: Jarrett Guarantano, Rashaan Gaulden
I’m not sold on Missouri’s scorelines from the past three weeks. The Tigers recorded three blowout victories, sure — but over Idaho (98th in FBS in total offense), UConn (128th in FBS in scoring offense) and Florida (total mess in coach limbo).
However, the Tigers are playing with plenty of momentum, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Drew Lock and the offense have clicked for most of the season, and now the defense is playing along. What concerns me most is Tennessee’s lack of offensive consistency: can the Vols sustain drives to keep the defense from getting tired in the fourth quarter?
With or without Guarantano at 100 percent health, I don’t think so.
Missouri 34, Tennessee 17
Key Players: Josh Palmer, Micah Abernathy
I might be going bold here, but I think Tennessee may overcome Lock and the Missouri Tigers. Last season produced similar talk (“Drew Lock leads the SEC in passing and Tennessee’s defense is terrible”), yet Tennessee found a way to shut down the Tigers’ offense, or at least slow it down, on the way to a win.
I think the Vols are good enough to out-talent Missouri, at the very least.
Tennessee 31, Missouri 21
Key Players: Ty Chandler, Rashaan Gaulden
Missouri’s offense is red hot right now. Tennessee’s… well, not so much.
The Tigers are looking for a second SEC win, and if you’re a Vols’ fan, things don’t look so hopeful. The Vols’ defense will have to force turnovers and take advantage to get a win, but I’m not convinced that’s going to happen.
Missouri 38, Tennessee 13
Key Players: John Kelly, Rashaan Gaulden