Tennessee vs. Missouri Preview

Emotions are running high for Mizzou. How will that affect the Vols in Saturday’s game?

Photo by Kevan Elkins

Photo by Kevan Elkins

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Mizzou has made a ton of headlines in the past week. From Concerned Student 1950 demands leading to the resignation of the school’s president to protesters trying to deny First Amendment right to journalists, it has been hectic.

But in the world of sports, possibly the biggest news came last Friday when 15-year head coach Gary Pinkel announced his resignation at the end of the football season. According to the Mizzou football website, “Pinkel’s decision is health-based, as he was diagnosed in May of 2015 with lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer of the blood.”

When the Vols roll into Columbia Saturday, they will face an emotional team. Pinkel will coach his last game at Faurot Field against Tennessee, a team Missouri has not lost to since joining the SEC in 2012. Kickoff is set for 7:15 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

This year’s Mizzou squad is probably the least talented team it has had since joining the conference. In contrast, the Vols are fielding their best roster in years. Still yet, many believe there is a mental block standing in the way of the Vols, similar to the one they can’t get past when facing Florida.

Though it went over a month without scoring a touchdown, Missouri’s offense has looked marginally better the last two weeks against Mississippi State and BYU. Tennessee’s defense, coming off a 24-0 shutout against North Texas, could potentially pose problems for a struggling Missouri running game. The quarterback situation in Columbia isn’t fantastic, either.

On the other side of the ball, however, Mizzou’s defense has been stout, giving up only 14.7 points per game. Tennessee was not prolific in moving the ball against South Carolina or North Texas. And since a sterling performance at Kentucky, Joshua Dobbs has not been playing well. The Vols likely won’t be able to light up the scoreboard in Columbia.

Bettors will be glad to know that the over/under in this game is 42.5. That’s a pretty easy under bet for two offenses known to struggle. This game will likely be a low-scoring dogfight. The Vols are the consensus favorite, with the line currently at 8.5. Mizzou has the potential to keep it closer than that with an emotional advantage.

Prediction: Tennessee 20, Missouri 13

Featured image by Kevan Elkins

Edited by Hannah Hunnicutt