Missouri continued its losing ways this time at home to Tennessee 24-20.
The Tigers jumped on top on their first possession on a 30-yard field goal by Tucker McCann. That lead stood up until Tennessee scored on a one yard touchdown run with 12:49 left in the first half. Missouri responded with a touchdown of their own on the next possession on a seven yard pass from Kelly Bryant to Tyler Badie. Tennessee then scored a touchdown with just 1:32 left in the half and led at the half 17-10.
This second half saw Missouri tie the game on a trick play touchdown pass from Micah Wilson to Tyler Badie with 8:40 left in the third quarter. Tennessee stretched the lead back out to a touchdown difference when Jarrett Guarantano threw a 17-yard touchdown pass with just 0:22 lett in the third quarter. Missouri was only able to put up a field goal in the final quarter. Missouri punted the ball down 24-20 with 3:33 in the game. Tennessee earned two first downs on their next drive and ran out the clock for the win.
The loss was the fifth consecutive one for the Tigers which tied their winning streak after dropping the opening game at Wyoming. Missouri is now 5-6 on the season and 2-5 in the SEC. This was just the latest loss in a disappointing season for the Tigers who expected much better things. Although the team is still waiting for a response from the NCAA on the appeal of the penalties previously handed down, the NCAA’s decision might not mean anything. If Missouri doesn’t win at Arkansas next week they will not even qualify for a bowl game.
LB Nick Bolton was terrific as usual in this game. Bolton led the Tigers with 10 tackles, six solo. He was all over the field and made some hard hits on Tennessee receivers including one shot to the ribs of a receiver who had to leave the field to recover.
DL Kobie Whiteside blocked a field goal attempt on Tennessee’s first possession of the second half. The block kept Missouri within one score at 17-10.
Room for Improvement
DB Christian Holmes committed multiple pass interference penalties in the game. Tennessee went after him the entire game and it paid off. Holmes had problems picking up the ball in the air and often didn’t even turn around to try to find it.
QB Kelly Bryant was 16-for-28 for 166 yards passing and a touchdown. He did run ten times but only for 18 yards. This was another disappointing game for Bryant who hoped to have a big senior season before entering the NFL draft. Bryant didn’t look completely healthy in this game and maybe that caused some of his problems, but he has struggled most of the season. Was the problem that he looked better at Clemson than he really was simply because the team he was on could dominate most teams they played against? I don’t think that’s all of it. I think expectations for Kelly Bryant were too high and Missouri’s offense made him look worse. On a better offensive team Kelly Bryant probably has a much better season. He has talent but cannot carry a team.
RB Larry Rountree couldn’t get anything going on the ground in this game. He gained just 43 yards on 16 carries.
The Missouri defense looks so physical but really struggled against the pass in this game. Tennessee ran for 111 yards but threw for 415. The Volunteers were 9-for-16 on third down. The Tigers committed too many pass interference penalties that help Tennessee move down the field.
Missouri finishes the regular season, and likely their football season, on Friday at Arkansas. The Razorbacks are 2-9 overall and 0-7 in the SEC.