SEC Upset Special: Missouri Over Tennessee
The SEC card this week doesn’t have many opportunities for upsets, with a few schools playing FCS opponents. One game stood out to me, though. Missouri has put together one of the quietest two-loss campaigns in the country, and at 8-2 (5-1 in SEC play) the Tigers control their own destiny in he SEC East. Georgia needs Missouri to lose in order to make it to Atlanta, but that won’t happen this weekend.
The Tigers are 3.5-point underdogs as they head to Knoxville to take on the Tennessee Volunteers. I will give you three reasons why Missouri will win this game and why you should go with the Tigers.
Missouri’s Run Defense
The Tigers are only allowing opponents to rush for 3.36 yards per carry, and I think they can find ways to slow down Tennessee’s resurged rushing attack. The Vols have been much better with Dobbs at quarterback, and Jalen Hurd has come on strong recently.
If the Tigers can make Tennessee one-dimensional, I think it will lead to turnovers. The Tigers have forced 18 turnovers this season, with 11 of them being interceptions.
Missouri’s Run Game vs. Tennessee’s Defense
Russell Hansborough is coming off a strong performance against Texas A&M in which he rushed for 199 yards. Finding running room against this Tennessee defense shouldn’t be a huge issue, as the Vols have allowed at least 100 yards rushing in every game except one this season. This Vols unit will also be without their leading tackler in linebacker A.J. Johnson.
Opponents are rushing for 4.1 yards per carry against Tennessee, and that fits right into what Missouri wants to do offensively. Maty Mauk has been inconsistent at times, so establishing the run game early should be at the top of the game plan for the Tigers.
Gary Pinkel Gets It Done
Missouri may not be the flashiest team in the SEC, but it has found ways to get it done over the last two seasons. The Tigers are 8-2 this season and have found ways to win close games, and I expect the same kind of mentality from them Saturday night.
The Tigers have won close games against South Carolina and Texas A&M, and the Tigers will get another big road victory against Tennessee this weekend. I think Missouri is a good play here with 3.5 points because of how it has performed lately. That running game has come on lately and Mauk can be solid whenever the running game is going. Even in a tough environment I like Pinkel’s squad to rise to the occasion.