FOOTBALL PREVIEW: No. 5 Tennessee Hosts Missouri in Late Season Matchup

 Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics
By Chris Clark

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The No. 5 Tennessee Volunteers (8-1) are set to host the Missouri Tigers (4-5) this Saturday at noon. The matchup will feature two teams coming off losses, a first for the Vols this season.

Tennessee is coming off their first loss of the season at the hands of the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs last weekend down in Athens. It was an atypical performance from a normally lethal Heupel offense and the first time all season the Vols failed to score at least 30 points in a game.

Heisman candidate Hendon Hooker was pressured twenty times throughout in a relentless defensive game plan from Georgia head coach Kirby Smart who refused to let Hooker ever get comfortable in a 27-13 complete handling of then-No. 1 Tennessee.

Hooker will assuredly look to bounce back and get himself back in the Heisman rankings. He was the frontrunner going into the matchup with Georgia but fell back after a rough performance. He and the receiving core were out of sync as those usual deep bombs simply weren’t there with all credit to the Bulldog defense. Receivers Cedric Tillman and Jalin Hyatt will also be looking to bounce back after a game in which no receiver gained north of 70 yards nor had a touchdown reception.

The Missouri Tigers are also coming off a tough loss last week at the hands of the Kentucky Wildcats in a game that featured a lot of defense. It was a back-and-forth game late in the fourth quarter with Kentucky taking the final lead on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Kentucky quarterback Will Levis to give the Wildcats a 21-17 win.

Tigers quarterback Brady Cook is one of their biggest players to watch out for. Currently, he is sixth in the SEC in pass completions and has been a big part of any success Missouri has had this season. However, the Tigers have thrown more interceptions than touchdowns so far this season so he will have to be more decisive with his throws against a stingy Tennessee defense that has had success of its own in turning the ball over.

Tennessee and Missouri will kick off at noon on SEC Network.