Who? Missouri Tigers (2–2, 0–1) vs. Tennessee Volunteers (2–2, 0–1)
Where? Memorial Stadium, Columbia, Missouri
When? 12:00 PM ET, October 2, 2021
Series — Missouri leads 5–4, but Tennessee has a 2-game win streak. The Vols are 2–2 in Columbia.
Spread —Missouri -2.5 (Caesar’s), Missouri just 52.8% chance to win (FPI)
Tennessee put up a fight last week. It only showed for 2 quarters, but there was 4 quarters of effort. Unfortunately, we saw just how much it hurts to lose 30+ guys to the transfer portal. There were mistakes, the Vols would have been in that game with a normal roster. Regardless, onward to the next week.
UT will be looking to even the series against Missouri tomorrow in Columbia. Since joining the SEC, the Tigers have held a winning record over the Volunteers. According to Vegas and ESPN, Mizzou is favored, but by only 2.5 points at home, making it a virtual pick ’em game.
This Tennessee offense looks its best with Hooker behind center. Before leaving the game with an injury, Hooker went 13/23 for 221 yards and 2 touchdowns. Hooker may not be 100% for this game (if he even is cleared to play by medical staff) but it may not even matter. The Vols likely won’t need much production through the air, and that’s because they’ll be able to lean on the talented duo of Small and Evans.
The Tigers have an extremely glaring weakness: their rushing defense. Missouri allows 270.8 yards/game on the ground, which is the second worst in the country. They also give up a whopping 6.2 yards/carry. And UT’s coaching staff has made it well aware to the players: when running back Tiyon Evans was asked this week about the Tigers defense, he said “I don’t want to get into it…we’re going to have some fun.”
But what about Mizzou’s offense versus the Volunteers’ defense? Well, however the match-ups through the air and on the ground pan out will decide the game. The Tigers have one of the top passing offenses in the country, averaging 323.5 yards. They have an experienced core unit between quarterback Connor Bazelak, running back Tyler Badie (who leads the team in receptions as well as rushing yards), and a whole host of receivers they like to spread the ball around to.
Both Missouri’s offense and Tennessee’s defense have outperformed against opposing units, so it’s anyone’s game over who will really have the edge. However, both the Vols pass and rush defense is better than the average defense that the Tigers have faced, so for my prediction, I will be going with UT to have the edge here.
I think this will be a fun, close game that will surely get to the 30s and maybe even up into the 40s. Mizzou is favored by less than a field goal at home, so it’s basically a 50/50 ballgame. With the Vols having a major advantage on the ground and an edge on the defensive side of the ball, I don’t feel too uncomfortable picking Tennessee to win this one. They will just need to take care of the ball and not beat themselves, which is still in the realm of possibility of course.
Check out what our staff thinks down below. link
Ben Ashworth (4–0) — Tennessee 42, Missouri 34
Travis Hamilton (2–2) — Tennessee 44, Missouri 28
James Hines (3–1) — Missouri 38, Tennessee 35
Brian Johnson (3–1) —
Jack Pierce, Jr. (3–1) — Tennessee 31, Missouri 27
Dylan Vogel (4–0) — Tennessee 35, Missouri 31
Written by Dylan Vogel, Director of Writing at VSPN