Matchup Preview: Mizzou vs. Tennessee

Missouri will return from an overtime loss at Boston College when it hosts Tennessee for the team’s first home game of the SEC this season. A Tiger defense that has jumped on the ground through four fights will face a unique test in the form of Tennessee’s high-speed attack led by the former Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Huepel.

“I think their offense is just as explosive – I know that last week probably did not score as many points as they could have, but very explosive offensively,” Eli Drinkwitz said about Tennessee. “They snatch the ball around three games a minute, which is sometimes the fastest offensive in college football, presenting a whole new set of challenges for us defensively.”

Both Tennessee and Missouri go into the 2-2 draw and have dropped their lone SEC competitions this season. The loser will likely face an uphill climb to gain bowl eligibility. Here’s everything you need to know to get ready for matchup.


Eli Drinkwitz and Missouri will return from a loss at Boston College when the Tigers hosted Tennessee on Saturday.
Eli Drinkwitz and Missouri will return from a loss at Boston College when the Tigers hosted Tennessee on Saturday. (J. Prather / USA Today)

Start-up of information

Time: 11.00

Location: Faurot felt; Columbia, MO

TV: SEC Network (Dave Neal, Deuce McAlister, Andraya Carter)

Radio: Tiger Radio Network (Mike Kelly, Howard Richards, Chris Gervino)

Dispersion: Missouri -3

Series history: Missouri leads 5-4

Last meeting: Tennessee won 35-12 in Knoxville last season

By the numbers

2021 Offensive Statistics

2021 Defensive Statistics

Mizzou Injury Report

* Doubtful:

OL Case Cook

WR Barrett Banister

Niko Hea

* Out:

WR Mookie Cooper

DL Darius Robinson

Inside Matchups

When Missouri has the ball:

Tennessee’s defensive numbers look a lot better than Missouri’s, but the volunteers have padded this statistic a bit during victories over Bowling Green and Tennessee Tech. Tennessee surrendered more than 900 yards in two games against Pittsburgh and Florida. The Gators rushed to 283 yards and passed to 222 in a 38-14 win last week. The opportunity should be there for Connor Bazelak and Missouri to move the ball, especially if Missouri’s defense can ever force a quick shot or turn and put Tennessee’s defense back on the field.

The only thing to watch out for in Tennessee’s defense is its ability to generate momentum-swinging play. Tennessee is number two nationwide with 34 tackles for losses through four games. Security According to Jackson has accounted for 6.5 of them, which ranks him as third best in SEK. Tennessee has also taken the ball from its opponent five times in the last two games, with four interceptions and a fumble. It should be noted that four of them came against Tennessee Tech, yet revenue played a crucial role in Missouri’s loss at Boston College, so the Tigers will have to take care of the ball on Saturday.


When Tennessee has the ball:

Heupel is going to run his scheme no matter who line up behind center, but the Tennessee offensive has been a lot better this season with Hendon Hooker at quarterback end Joe Milton. Milton started the first two games of the season before leaving the game with a leg injury. Hooker has played the most snaps since, though he also suffered an injury during Tennessee’s loss to Florida and left the game. Heupel has not said which player will start in Missouri, or even whether one of them will be available. Harrison Bailey, the team’s third quarterback, played in six games last season and completed 48 of 68 passes for four touchdowns and two interceptions.

So far this year, Hooker has completed 65.7 percent of his passes for 613 yards, seven goals and a pick. Milton has struggled with accuracy and completed 46.5 percent of his throws for a touchdown. Both are skilled runners who have each topped 100 yards and scored a touchdown on the ground this season and it will be something to see as Missouri allowed Boston College quarterback Dennis Grosel to get rid of a few key scrambles last week.

While many Missouri fans probably remember Heupel’s offense for his pace and his flashy passing numbers, Tennessee has run the ball on more than 60 percent of his snaps so far this season. Against a Missouri defense that ranks No. 129 out of 130 FBS teams against the race, Vols expect to deliver the ball early and often to their backback duo of Tiyon Evans and Jabari Small. In its two wins, Tennessee averages 266.5 yards on the ground against 142 in its two losses. If Missouri can stop the run on early downs and put Tennessee in obvious passing situations, it may force the volunteers to quickly give the ball back to the Tiger offensive, but that’s been a bit easier said than done for Steve Wilks’ unit so far in this season.

ADVANTAGE: Tennessee

Special teams

Missouri has so far this season been rock solid on special teams, and having an advantage in the kicking game may prove crucial to what is expected to be a close competition. Not only have Harrison Mevis not missing a kick this season that converted all of his five field attempts and all 20 extra points, Mevis has scored two field goals on more than 50 yards. Last week, he got through the clutch by drilling a 56-yard line as time ran out in regulation to tie the game and force overtime. Punter Grant McKinniss has also been solid, averaging 43.5 yards per game. boot and regularly fasten opponents inside the 10-yard line. Missouri also blocked a field goal against Kentucky. The one special team area where the Tigers have yet to find a big game is in the return match.

Tennessee has also shown solid kicks so far this season. USC graduate transfer Chase McGrath is 18-18 on extra points and 3-4 on field goal attempts this year. Over the course of his five-year college career, McGrath has made more than 75 percent of his field goal attempts, but he has only made two field goals from more than 50 yards. Punter Paxton Brooks is averaging 45.3 yards per. kick.


Missouri kicker Harrison Mevis hit a 56-yard field goal on the final adjustment game to force overtime at Boston College.
Missouri kicker Harrison Mevis hit a 56-yard field goal on the final adjustment game to force overtime at Boston College. (Denny Medley / USA Today)

Missouri’s keys to the game

1. Get stop on first down.

During last week’s losses at Boston College, the Eagles averaged 6.3 yards per game. Play on first down. They had an average of 7.2 yards per game. Carry on such games. It often put Missouri’s defense in a tough spot, allowing Boston College to run if the Tigers did not put enough defenders in the field or throw if the corner kicks were on an island. Wilks said Tuesday that improving early defense will be even more important against Tennessee, because if Missouri can create negative play and put the volunteers behind the chains, Wilks can call for pressure and the defense has a chance to force a quick try and out and put a tired Vol defense back on the field. On the flip side, when Tennessee first picks up a first down on a given drive, it really slows down the pace, making it hard for the defense to breathe.

2. Protect the ball.

We’ve already mentioned that Tennessee has shown an ability to take the ball away from conflicting offenses this season, and Missouri’s two revenue tumbled big in the Boston College loss. As the Tiger defense struggles, the offense cannot afford to waste property. Bazelak needs to be smart with where he puts the ball, not try to keep up if Tennessee hits a big game and force the ball down the field if the opportunity is not there.

3. Do not give up on the big plays.

When we talk about Tennessee hitting big plays, Heupel’s offense is designed to capture yardage in chunks. The volunteers have not fully lived up to Heupel’s standards in that area through four games, as they are tied for 53rd place in games of 10 plus yards, but his offensive is designed to take vertical shots in the passing game and create great players on the ground. , not so much sustain drives. Missouri’s defensive back must have everything in front of him. If either Hooker or Milton can continuously complete intermediate passes, then do so. More importantly, Missouri’s defense needs to complete tackles and complete its missions to avoid giving up more bits in the race. If Tigre can commit a voluntary offense that had five dropped passes last week and is number 112 nationwide in penalties, the ball moves consistently, odds are that the offense will fall behind the chains at some point.

SE – Opposition research presented by Edward Jones: Tennessee

Talk to know

2.99: Playing the minute driven after the Tennessee offense this season, the fastest pace in the country.

25: 01.75: Average possession time for Tennessee so far this season, which is number one in the country.

232: Urgent yards gathered Tennessee against Missouri last season.

6.16: Yards per carry allowed by Missouri’s rush defense through four games this year, second largest in the country.

19: Receiving yards was necessary for Badie to become the first Missouri player ever to collect 1,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards in his college career.

PowerMizzou predictions

Mitchell Forde: There is certainly reason why Missouri fans are concerned that its porous defense will be offended by Tennessee’s unique offensive offense. But I have not seen anything from a volunteer team that has only beaten Bowling Green and Tennessee Tech to suggest that it is more talented than Missouri. Considering the Tigers should be hungry after redemption and playing at home, I think they are pulling a win in a competitive game with high scores. Missouri 41, Tennessee 35.

Gabe DeArmond: I just want to say that I’m not really happy with my choice. Tennessee can drive the ball from both the running back and quarterback position, and that’s one thing that seems to be causing Missouri problems. On the flip side, Vols have made lots of mistakes so far this season. This choice is mainly based on the fact that I think Eli Drinkwitz is too good a coach to go 0-3 out of the gate in swing matches. Hardly analytical there, but no matter what. Missouri 31, Tennessee 30.

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