Brendan Quinn: Matchups to watch for Vols-Missouri

Matchups to watch

Tennessee's defense vs. Itself

Defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri spent the week defending himself. It's about the only thing he or the Vols have guarded in a while. Coach Derek Dooley says the Vols are what the numbers say they are. If that's the case, the defensive unit is among the worst in the program's 100-plus year history. Could today bring relief? Missouri ranks 109th nationally in total offense with 319.3 yards per game.

UT QB Tyler Bray vs. Missouri's pass defense

Tyler Bray is coming off a career game against Troy, tossing a school-record 530 yards on 29 completions, including five touchdown passes. The Tigers' pass defense ranks 15th nationally allowing 185.6 yards per game. In SEC games this year, Bray's completion percentage is just 54.1 percent.

Stock up

UT WR Justin Hunter

In an up-and-down season, Justin Hunter has caught 56 passes and seven touchdowns. He caught just nine passes during a mid-season swoon against Georgia, Mississippi State and Alabama. But he's bounced back to catch 17 balls the last two weeks and racked up 181 yards and three touchdowns against Troy last Saturday.

Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson

Coming off SEC defensive player of the week honors from a win over Kentucky two weeks ago, the All-American candidate made six tackles, including 1.5 for a loss, forced a fumble and blocked a field goal against Florida last weekend. Richardson ranks first in tackles among SEC interior lineman with 63 on the season.

Stock down

Tennessee's secondary

Missouri's wideouts must be salivating. Neyland Stadium has become a vacation resort for opposing receivers. Last week saw Troy's Eric Thomas and Chip Reeves each haul in more than 140 yards and combine for three touchdowns. Two weeks earlier, Alabama freshman Amari Cooper enjoyed a career day with 162 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

Missouri's ball security

A winnable game at Florida was squandered partially because of four interceptions thrown by Tigers quarterback James Franklin, who was making his first start since spraining his left knee in early October. Conversely, two weeks ago, the problems weren't in the air, but on the ground. Missouri fumbled four times, but only lost one, in a 33-10 win at home against Kentucky.

Tweets of the week

UT beat writer for CBS and Nooga.com:

Tyler Bray's numbers since Dooley "called him out" two weeks ago: 56 of 90 (62.2%) for 898 yards, 9 TDs, 1 INT (on a desperation throw).

UT RT Ja'Wuan James:

We need to update Neyland Stadium's Gameday play list and put some up to date Rap and not just all Country Music.

Unofficial account for the SEC Logo

Derek Dooley in 21 #SEC games has won 4. Kevin Sumlin in 6 #SEC games has won 4.

UT DB Deion Bonner

#VFL!

Prediction

Missouri 48, Tennessee 45

Wherever you are and whenever you read this, know that the Vols defense just allowed another touchdown.

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Comments » 6

VolzsFan writes:

IT'S BASKETBALL TIME IN TENNESSEE!!!! THAT SAD FALL PASTIME HAS GOT US TO THIS. WHO CARES ABOUT UT'S SAD FOOTBALL?

TELL ME ABOUT KENNESAW STATE'S MATCH UP.

tovolny writes:

Can anyone explain the fragmented end of this article?

6972 writes:

The odds on ESPN says Tn by 3. Here we read Mo by 3. I wish people would not try to confuse me so. Now I am mentally traumatized.

6972 writes:

Matchups: the defensive v/s Itself. I am going with "itself" to lose out.

Gmoney58 writes:

Oh...I get it now....B Quinn thinks someone cares about his prediction.
Vols by 7.

frblalack writes:

Lock-down D' today! Somewhere!

Go Vols!

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