Last week, after they were demolished by Alabama, Tennessee offensive lineman Tiny Richardson guaranteed that his team would beat Missouri. Well, Tiny, that may not have been your smartest idea.
Saturday night, Missouri routed Tennessee by a score of 31-3, as Maty Mauk was the star of the game. He threw for 163 yards and 3TD, and he also had 13 carries for 114 yards. Even though Mauk threw three touchdown passes, the entire Missouri offense on Saturday was based on the run. The Tigers had 502 total yards of offense, and 339 of those were on the ground. FIVE players had over 30 yards rushing, and three had over 60. Mizzou went 10-19 on third down conversions.
And then there was the defense… Missouri continued its FBS leading streak of consecutive games with a turnover forced, pushing it to 39. The Tigers forced three turnovers; two interceptions and a fumble. One of the interceptions was made by star cornerback EJ Gaines, making his return after missing a few games with injury. The Tiger defense held Tennessee to only 2-13 on 3rd down and 0-2 on 4th down. Missouri allowed 240 yards through the air, but on 42 pass attempts. The run defense for the Tigers was extremely stingy, allowing only 94 yards on 24 carries.
Tennessee came into the game as one of the least penalized teams in the nation, but Saturday night, that changed. Whether it was the crowd, or Missouri’s dominating defensive line, Tennessee committed 9 penalties for 65 yards. That kind of game isn’t what you would expect from an offensive line like Tennessee’s.
All in all, Missouri played an excellent game on both sides of the ball. The Tigers really bounced back well after the tough 2OT loss to South Carolina.