1. Offensive line play of Vols vs. defensive line play of Mizzou
Of all the talk surrounding this game and what Josh Heupel does, it’ll come down to the trenches for Tennessee football’s offense. We don’t know how healthy Jabari Small is, but if you know Heupel’s offense, you know he has to be able to run the ball to get things going.
An elite defensive line like Mizzou could make that tough. Look, Georgia beat the Vols up front last week. Now, part of that was their confusing blitz packages that UT could never figure out on the left side, but the other part was the fact that they are just elite, and the Vols couldn’t do much.
You could honestly make a case that Missouri’s defensive line is better than Georgia’s. Yes, we’re going there. If the Vols are going to control this game from start to finish, they desperately have to win these battles up front. Honestly, things weren’t so bad outside of left tackle last week, and they are still loaded with talent, but they have to play better.
Missouri has 21 sacks on the year and can rush the passer just like Georgia, but they do it with just their ends. That puts even more pressure on Tennessee football’s offensive line, and the whole unit has to be able to step up in this one. If they can’t, well, the Vols will be another team that Missouri puts up a fight against.