For the third straight week, Tennessee football is facing a team that likes to slow the tempo down and make things ugly. No, they aren’t the Georgia Bulldogs, but the Missouri Tigers are still a physical team that force you to work for your points. That’s the opposite of how the Vols like to play under Josh Heupel.
As we get set to break down everything that will go into this game, we’re going to take into account the nuanced differences in those three weeks. On a macro scale, though, given what happened to the Vols’ offense last week at the Dawgs, this is far from a guaranteed easy win.
Add in the fact that Missouri hasn’t allowed more than 26 points in an SEC game all year and hasn’t lost any SEC game by more than one score, and this game gets really interesting. Let’s take a look at whether or not Tennessee football can change that. Here are 10 keys to the game between the Vols and Tigers.
These factors will determine what happens between the Tennessee football Volunteers and Mizzou.
10. Mentality of the Vols after loss at Georgia
Rocky Top has to overcome three mental hurdles when facing Mizzou in this game. The first is getting over last week’s loss to the Bulldogs. Losing was bad enough, but they got blown out in a score way worse than 27-13 indicated. It may have wrecked their mentality, especially since going to Atlanta is highly unlikely now.
However, that’s not the only thing working against them. They also have to not overlook Mizzou at the same time while trying to think about the College Football Playoff rankings. Again, this team hasn’t lost an SEC game by more than one score all year. If they are down from the UGA loss and overlooking Mizzou, that’s a deadly combination.
Then there are the distractions of Senior Day. Tennessee football used to struggle with the Vanderbilt Commodores during the Peyton Manning days because of that, and in an emotional one where legends like Hendon Hooker are honored, it can be tough. Can the Vols ignore that? They have to if they want to win.