8. Vols’ pass rush
One of the forgotten stories of last week’s loss to Georgia for Tennessee football was the absence of impact from Byron Young, Tyler Baron and Roman Harrison. The Vols need their ends to dominate in games like those, and they weren’t able to, a huge reason Georgia was able to stay on the field on third down.
Stetson Bennett’s first touchdown run came because he eluded a well-designed blitz by Tim Banks in which he sent Juwan Mitchell up the middle. However, Banks had to dial that up because the edge rushers weren’t getting pressure, and it ended up costing them.
Mizzou isn’t horrible at preventing sacks, but they are below average, as they give up just over two a game. In their SEC losses, they are actually giving up three a game, so that’s a formula for pulling out a victory on Saturday. In fact, it could turn into a necessity.
Young and Baron have shown they can impact games in the past. Both came through huge at the Pittsburgh Panthers, and Young had a superstar performance at the LSU Tigers. Tennessee football needs both of them again in this one. Mizzou doesn’t throw a lot, but Brady Cook is finding his rhythm, so the Vols have to pressure him.