By: John Dunn, Rachel Ward, Anthony Cloud and Darrell Winstead
The All Vol Call in Show.
The Missouri Tigers -- one of the "young bloods" in the SEC. Since 2012, the Tigers have given the Volunteers fits in the East. Missouri won the debut match up against the Vols and rattled off two more wins in a row before falling to Tennessee in a 19-8 decision in Columbia in 2015.
Tennessee only has one win on the road in this series, and one win on the road this season. (Kentucky) The Tigers have hung 100 points on the Vols in the last two games, outscoring Tennessee 100-34.
John Dunn: If not for Tennessee falling in week-one to Georgia State, Missouri would have been the talk of college football. With all the hype surrounding the Tigers after the addition of Clemson transfer quarterback Kelly Bryant, Mizzou fell flat on their face against the Wyoming Cowboys in the first game of the season.
The Tigers rattled off five straight wins before falling to Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Georgia and Florida, all in succession. Missouri seems to struggle against the run, and with Tennessee's lack of a running game lately, some Vol fans are rightfully anxious.
Although the Vols haven't seen much success on the ground in recent weeks, they've got things done through the air. Against the Tigers, I expect a steady dose of both passing and rushing. The Vols will find what works early against the Tigers, and will exploit it.
Jarrett Guarantano should get the nod at quarterback this week on the road. His experience is too valuable this week with bowl eligibility hanging in the balance. Jauan Jennings and Marquez Callaway will each produce solid numbers. The Vols will get Ty Chandler going in this game. Look for Tim Jordan to be a solid counter-option to Chandler. I also expect the defense to have two interceptions, three sacks and limit Missouri to 14 points. The Vols go bowling for the first time in three years.
Prediction: 31-14; Tennessee
Rachel Ward: Tennessee and Missouri haven’t seen many years of match ups due to the fact that Mizzou was added to the SEC in 2012. In the 7 years of sharing a conference, Mizzou has a winning record of 5-2 against the Vols. With UT victories in 2015 and 2016, teams led offensively by former QB Josh Dobbs have been the only two to beat out Mizzou.
During his first year leading the Vols as head coach, Jeremy Pruitt saw bowl eligibility chances end as the Vols lost to Mizzou near the end of last season, 50-17. My guess is an outcome like last season is one Pruitt won’t allow on the radar. If there are any differences between Mizzou and the Vols at this point in the season, it’s a difference in momentum.
Mizzou started the season off strong with a 5-1 record before four-straight losses to Vandy, Kentucky, Georgia and Florida. The Vols’ season has been somewhat of an opposite as they’ve gained momentum in the second half, recovering from a slow start and heading into the weekend with a three game winning streak.
Looking at Mizzou’s roster, the name Kelly Bryant sticks out. As a former Clemson QB, Bryant led Clemson to a 2017 ACC Championship and a spot in the College Football Playoffs. Bryant has been faced with some injuries this season as he missed the Georgia game due to a sprained hamstring as well as faced knee injuries, but his talents at Clemson have transferred over to his time at Mizzou.
Pruitt knows he’s a strong QB, giving him credit as an “extremely athletic” guy with a big arm. Pruitt also noted that it’s not his first time coaching against Bryant as Bama matched up against Clemson during Pruitt’s time as defensive coordinator. This familiarity might be an edge for the Vols’ defense. Mizzou’s defense started out the season strong, ranked second in the country by the NCAA in total defense as they started out the season 5-1.
They currently sit 10th in the country in total defense with the Vols at 35th for reference. With a season that has really lost complete momentum, though, I think the Vols have another strong chance on the road to notch a win—a win that could result in bowl eligibility for the first time in three years.
Prediction: 28-17; Tennessee.
Darrell Winstead: The Tigers lead the all-time series, albeit a small one, by an advantage of 5-2 and have won the last two games. Both of these teams will be fighting to become bowl eligible.
A win for either team will be a huge step forward in what has been a disappointing season. The Vols, who are on a three-game win streak and looking to stay undefeated in the month of November, will roll into Columbia, MO, where they have a 1-2 record.
Make no mistake, the Vols can’t take this game lightly, if they want to win and erase some of the early season disasters. They have to continue to lean on their two big star receivers in Jennings and Callaway.
The Tigers are fighting for their bowl lives as well. They have Kelly Bryant at QB, but he’s not the same guy we saw at Clemson. Injuries and a lack of talent around him have been his biggest obstacles. They need to jump out to a fast start and not let up, to secure victory. My prediction for this game is a close one.
Prediction: 29-27; Tennessee. (Camaglia pulls out the win)