This Saturday, a vital SEC East showdown is taking place as the Missouri Tigers come into Knoxville to face the Tennessee Volunteers, who must win to keep their SEC Championship Game hopes alive. Will Missouri land the upset in Neyland? Will Tennessee continue to take care of business in order to get to the SEC Championship Game?
While Missouri’s season is practically over, Tennessee still has a LOT to play for as they have revived hopes of winning the SEC East after beating Kentucky last weekend. Of course, the hope is only revived and won’t be easy as the Vols must face Missouri, a team the Vols have struggled with since Missouri joined the SEC East, and Vanderbilt, a team that has played many proven teams like Auburn and Florida to very close games with their stout defense.
However, Missouri is not to be taken lightly by any means. Missouri, although 3-7, is coming off a huge win against Vanderbilt and is carrying momentum into Neyland that will give them the spirit to try to spoil Tennessee’s hopes of getting an SEC Championship Game birth. Nonetheless, let’s get into the actual breakdown of the game!
The game kicks off at 3:30 ET on November 19th. It will be played in Knoxville, Tennessee and can be watched on CBS. Tennessee is a 16 point favor over the Missouri Tigers.
Tennessee’s Keys to Success:
- Ability to use the run game on offense: It’s no secret that Tennessee QB Joshua Dobbs is not the best passer, however his success of becoming a runner that is able to shred through the defense and knock defenders off of him is what makes him special. That combined with the attack of Alvin Kamara and John Kelly JR. on the ground is what the Vols will have to use to win this game from the start. The 2 previous weeks Tennessee has been able to establish the run very early in the game and has led them to 2 very impressive wins. The same thing will have to be done tomorrow against Missouri for them to win.
- Pass Defense showing up- The Tigers have a very successful run game, but they have an equally good pass game which will give Tennessee fits. Tennessee has been down players on the passing defense since week 1 and that isn’t any different this week with star secondary player Todd Kelly Jr. out, which won’t help the Vols at all.
- Run Defense showing up- Derrick Barnett, DE from Tennessee, can NOT do everything. It seems with the dismissal and injury of DT’s the team has relied on him to do everything on the defense line. With injuries to Shy Tuttle and Kahlil McKenzie players like Kyle Phillips and Jonathan Kongbo are going to have to show up and make some good players in order for Tennessee to stop this high-paced offense
Missouri’s Keys to Success
- Rushing Game staying away from Derrick Barnett- Derrick Barnett is one of the most talented DE’s to come out of Tennessee, so it’s no surprise this is a tip for Tennessee. The Vols are also very depleted at the DT position, which should allow for glorious amounts of yards running up the middle. However they will be met with bricks on the outsides as Tennessee has another star DE in Corey Vereen, so it will be wise for Missouri to run it up the middle.
- Take advantage of Tennessee’s fluctuating offense- Tennessee, especially QB Joshua Dobbs, has had a hard time staying consistent this season. If Missouri wants a larger chance of winning, they need to disrupt Dobbs early, that way he can’t be allowed to get into a rhythm which, if the rest of the season shows us anything, will shut down Tennessee’s offense.
It will not be a pretty game on defense for either team. It’s going to be a very back-and-forth game, with both teams constantly scoring. However, at the end of the day I feel Joshua Dobbs explosive mobility will be the factor that pushes Tennessee over Missouri in a close, high-scoring game.
Image Credit: USA Today