Tennessee, Missouri attempt to rebound from disappointing losses

NCAA Football

Missouri and Tennessee will both seek a bounce-back win when then meet in a Southeastern Conference matchup on Saturday in Columbia, Mo.

The Volunteers (2-2, 0-1 SEC) are coming off a 38-14 loss at Florida. The Tigers (2-2, 0-1) absorbed a 41-34 overtime defeat at Boston College after tying the game on Harrison Mevis’ 56-yard field goal as time ran out in regulation.

“You cannot hang on to the pain,” Tigers coach Eliah Drinkwitz said. “You’ve got to keep moving forward. You cannot hang onto the pain.”

Quarterback Connor Bazelak (300 passing yards per game) and running back Tyler Badie (104.3 rushing yards per game) lead a potent Missouri offense, but the Tigers have given up 269.2 yards per game on the ground to opponents. That ranks No. 129 among the 130 FBS teams.

Tennessee’s upbeat offensive pace concerns Drinkwitz.

“When somebody is snapping the ball three plays every 60 seconds, there are a lot of opportunities for error,” Drinkwitz said. “And they capitalize on those errors.”

The Volunteers will be on the road for a second consecutive week after opening with three home games. They were within 17-14 of the then-No. 11 Gators at the half last week but were blanked 21-0 over the final two quarters.

Hendon Hooker passed for 221 yards and two touchdowns before leaving the game after absorbing a hard hit in the fourth quarter. His status for this week was unclear, but coach Josh Heupel said the Virginia Tech transfer was not in concussion protocol.

If Hooker can’t go, Michigan transfer Joe Milton III, who started the first two games, likely will start over Harrison Bailey, who has appeared in only one game. Milton has completed 20 of 43 passes for 243 yards in three outings. Hooker is 46 of 70 for 613 yards with seven touchdowns.

“We’ll see where we’re at during the course of this week and go from there,” Heupel said.

–Field Level Media

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