The Xtra Point: Tigers prepare to bounce back from loss
Things just don't look too great for Missouri.
The Tigers blew a second half lead against South Carolina, failed to stop the Gamecocks on fourth and 15 attempt in overtime and botched a crucial kick that would've sent the Tigers to triple overtime. In the process, the Tigers weakened their National Championship hopes and while they still control their destiny in the SEC East, South Carolina now has a shot at winning the division.
With all those things on the mind of the team and a home game against lowly Tennessee, the Tigers are looking to comeback with vengeance against a weak team. While Tiger fans gave Maty Mauk criticism after his miserable second half performance against South Carolina, he was facing the 23rd ranked pass defense in the nation. This week, Mauk will get a Tennessee defense that has yielded 235.8 passing yards per game. With the arsenal of receivers Mauk has at his disposal and the effective run game to change the pace of the offense, the Tigers should unleash an aerial assault against the Volunteers.
Tennessee's strength lies in their running attack spearheaded by running back Rajion Neal. Neal is ranked in the top 30 in the NCAA in rushing yards with 763 yards on the year. Their passing game is another story. Freshman quarterback Joshua Dobbs will be the starter against Missouri as starter Justin Worley will be out with torn ligaments in his right hand. Even if he wants to air the ball out, reports say that star cornerback E.J. Gaines will return this week. The Tigers should anticipate the run on most plays and with a defensive line that includes the likes of Michael Sam, Kony Ealy and Markus Golden, Neal will have a hard time advancing the ball up the field.
The Missouri Tigers be able to move past last week's loss and beat Tennessee easily. Yes, Tennessee did beat South Carolina by a field goal, but they also did it with Worley at the helm. Without a threat of an aerial attack, the Tigers should be able to lock up the Volunteers on both sides of the ball.