By Jimmy Hyams
Missouri quarterback Drew Lock passed for an SEC-record 44 touchdown last season.
He has more career scoring passes than Peyton Manning.
He has been projected by some to be a first-round NFL draft choice.
But Lock isn’t Tennessee’s biggest concern Saturday.
Missouri’s run game is.
Lock has done well against the Vols. He has thrown for 537 yards and five touchdowns in the past two seasons combined.
But Missouri’s run game has run all over Tennessee. The Tigers have rushed for 853 yards in the last two games against the Vols. The Tigers have scored 87 points and totaled 1,399 yards in those two games.
Lock has completed less than 50 percent on those two games. In fact, in his three starts against UT, Lock has completed 46 percent of his passes.
Missouri’s balanced offense – 12 touchdowns rushing and passing – will give UT’s defense fits. Running backs Larry Rountree and Demarea Crockett have each rushed for at least 699 yards and combined for 16 touchdowns. And the Tigers have rushed for at least 200 yards in six games.
Tennessee’s defense is better against the run this year, allowing 152.7 yards per game compared to 251 a year ago. But four teams have rushed for more than 200 on UT.
If Missouri rushes for more than 200 yards, the Vols are in trouble.
If Missouri rushed for 400, Vol fans can leave the game early.
Last week: 6-1
Recap: The only game we missed last week was UT’s win over Kentucky … We picked Alabama by 28 and the Tide won by 24 over Mississippi State … We hit Florida winning by 4 over South Carolina … We picked LSU to win by 6 over Arkansas, the Tigers won by 7 … We took Georgia by 10 over Auburn, the Bulldogs won by 17 … We took Texas A&M by 9 over Ole Miss, the Aggies won by 14 … We took Missouri by 10 over Vanderbilt, the Tigers won by 5 … Thus, of the six games were picked correctly, we didn’t miss any spread by more than 7 points.
Missouri 34-30 over Tennessee.
Mississippi State 31-13 over Arkansas.
Vanderbilt 38-34 over Ole Miss.
Texas A&M 27-17 over UAB.
Alabama 50-6 over The Citadel.
Florida 34-7 over Idaho
South Carolina 30-10 over Chattanooga
Kentucky 24-17 over MTSU
Auburn 41-10 over Liberty
Georgia 47-10 over UMass
LSU 40-13 over Rice