The Missouri Tigers, fresh off their first SEC win of the season against Vanderbilt, head to Knoxville this week to face the Tennessee Volunteers.
The two programs had never met before Missouri joined the SEC in 2012, and since then, both have started going in opposite directions. Under longtime former coach Gary Pinkel, the Tigers went to the SEC Championship game in back-to-back seasons. Since then, however, they have gone 5-7 in 2015 and are currently 3-7 this season. Tennessee, on the other hand, has steadily improved every year under Butch Jones, and depending on how the Florida vs LSU game goes, could wind up in Atlanta in the SEC Championship game this year.
Mizzou quarterback Drew Lock has been one of the few bright stars on this otherwise lackluster team. Through 10 games, Lock leads the SEC in passing yards with 2811 and is tied for most passing touchdowns with 21. While 10 of those touchdowns did come in two games against Eastern Michigan and Delaware State, the numbers the sophomore has been putting up are still impressive.
Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs will be playing his final game in Neyland Stadium as a Tennessee Vol this week. Dobbs started the season off looking like a potential Heisman contender, especially against better competition, but has since cooled off. Dobbs accounted for five touchdowns against both Virginia Tech and Florida and four against Georgia, but in a three game-losing stretch against Texas A&M, Alabama and South Carolina, accounted for only two touchdowns.
Two of the best defensive ends in the SEC will be in Neyland Stadium this weekend. Almost everyone knows about Derek Barnett and the incredible numbers he has put up in just three years on Rocky Top. In fact, Barnett could break Reggie White’s school record of 32 career sacks in one less season.
However, a name many people may not know as well is Missouri’s Charles Harris. Harris has eight sacks on the season, four and a half of which came in the last two games against South Carolina and Vanderbilt. Harris also has two forced fumbles and a pass breakup, so like Barnett, he can do just about anything defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross asks of him.
In total, the Vols will be honoring 10 seniors, including captains Joshua Dobbs, Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Cameron Sutton.
After the heartbreaking loss to South Carolina, Tennessee has come out firing on all cylinders. The Vols will keep this going, and the game itself won’t be close. Tennessee will win 42-13, and Dobbs will leave the game in the late in the third or early in the fourth quarter to a deafening crowd. Barnett will also record two sacks, tying Reggie White’s career sack record.
Edited by David Bradford
Featured image by Donald Page, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics