posted on November 09, 2012 11:52
Missouri heads to Knoxville looking for its first conference road win, and we're looking at how the Tigers match-up with the Volunteers.
Missouri's passing offense vs. Tennesee's passing defense
There are two areas that will decide this game, and this is one of them. Which is worse -- Missouri's offense or Tennessee's defense? Missouri can move the ball on the ground, sure. But it's going to have to put up points through the air in order to outscore the Volunteers. Despite four interceptions against Florida, James Franklin showed some life in moving the offense through the air against a much better defense. There's promise, but there's plenty left to prove. The difference here is that while Missouri's offense has been bad, Tennessee's defense has been historically bad.
EDGE: Missouri (slight)
Missouri's rush offense vs. Tennessee's rush defense
Missouri got away from the run against Florida, and for good reason. The Gators are damn good stopping the ground game. Tennessee? Not so much. Franklin is a week healthier and should be a major complement to Kendial Lawrence and Marcus Murphy on the ground. Yards are there to be had.
Tennessee's passing offense vs. Missouri's passing defense
Missouri's defense has been great this year, and ranks 22nd-nationally in total yardage. The Tigers haven't seen a passing game like the Volunteers, however. Tennessee will get it's yardage, and Missouri will struggle to get pressure on Tyler Bray, who has only been sacked four times this season. Missouri's biggest key is to break down the pocket with pressure up the middle, forcing Bray to make throws on the run. That will be tough, however.
Tennessee's run offense vs. Missouri's run defense
Outside of the Alabama game, Missouri hasn't allowed a single opponent to rush for over 100 yards. Tennessee's ground game won't be confused for Alabama. Missouri has a chance to make Tennessee one-dimensional. If they can eliminate the ground game early, the Tigers have a chance to pull off the upset.
Missouri's special teams vs. Florida's special teams
There isn't much point in going on and on about this. Tennessee's special teams have been solid, and Missouri has shown it will make one catastrophic mistake in this area each game.
PREDICTION: As I said, this comes down to which is worse, the Tigers' offense or Tennessee's defense. There's more promise for Missouri's offense, and the Tigers will get yards. However, getting the ball in the endzone is another story. Missouri will get hot around halftime, but it won't be enough. Tennesee wins this one, 31-27.