We knew the Missouri Tigers had their work cut out for them. The Tennessee Volunteers would no doubt be fired up, and out for blood after losing to the Georgia Bulldogs the week prior.
We also knew that Tennessee had the best offense in the SEC, maybe in all of college football. After a rough week in which they only scored 13 points against the Georgia defense. Tennessee faced a potent Missouri defense.
Sitting in the fifth spot of the BCS Playoff Rankings, and on the outside looking into the playoff picture, Tennessee wanted to impress with a big win. And that, they did. Irrelevant to their record, the Missouri Tigers were a formidable foe.
The Missouri Tigers entered the game boasting the thirteenth-ranked defense in college football. Tennessee does not care about your thirteen-ranked defense. Not one bit. The Volunteers hung 66 points on the Tigers.
As we have discussed many times this season, the Tigers are a much better team than the win-loss record would have you believe. With that in mind, Tennessee absolutely took it to Mizzou from the middle-third quarter until the game’s completion.
The Tigers allowed 724 total yards of offensive. A Tennessee school record. This was not Missouri Head Coach, Eli Drinkwitz’s finest moment. Certainly, a forgettable moment for a Mizzou defense that has kept the Tigers in most games all season long.
After the Missouri Tigers cut the lead to 28-24, it was anyone’s game. The Volunteers scored 38 unanswered points and started to pull away late in the third quarter.
The hurry-up offense proved to be too much for the Tigers’ defense. Drinkwitz seemed completely unprepared for the high-octane Tennessee attack. The Volunteers’ Head Coach, Josh Heupel was aggressive throughout, and never let up. Including point-pounding at game’s end when the game was in-hand. Maybe sending a message to his former employer, the University of Missouri.
Missouri was the exact opposite of aggressive. For the second week in a row, Drinkwitz lined the team up on fourth and short, with Tyler Macon under center. Mizzou drew Tennessee into the neutral zone, only to not have a play for this. The ball was not snapped, and they punted shortly thereafter.
Against a team like Tennessee, you need to take chances, and the Missouri Tigers did not until late in the fourth quarter, when the game was out of reach.
One takeaway, the Missouri defense is not invincible. They were exhausted. Coach Drinkwitz will have to develop a more aggressive style of offense to compete with the SEC elite.
Going home against New Mexico State, Missouri needs a win to remain bowl eligible.
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