Missouri's James Franklin will be making his second start back from injury and is fairly healthy after what his coach described as a year from "hell," but he threw four interceptions last week against Florida and has yet to perform like he did in 2011. Tyler Bray is coming off what might be the two best games of his career. Edge: Tennessee.
The Tigers are near the bottom of the nation in rushing yardage, but it's not for lack of trying. The loss of Franklin as an effective run option seems to have hampered the rest of Missouri's backfield. Tennessee starter Rajion Neal should be closer to 100 percent after two weeks off and a light week against Troy, but Marlin Lane continues to be a comparable replacement. Edge: Tennessee.
Wide receivers/tight ends
Tennessee receivers had a blast last week against Troy, with Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter combining for 400 yards alone. Missouri has fewer options, although mega-recruit Dorial Green-Beckham played well last week at Florida. Edge: Tennessee.
Last week was another dominating performance for Tennessee's offensive line. The unit contributed to Tyler Bray's record-setting day and his clean jersey. Injuries have wrecked Missouri's offensive line. The news got even worse last week when starting right tackle Justin Britt tore his ACL. Edge: Tennessee.
Missouri's Sheldon Richardson had six tackles, a fumble recovery and a blocked field goal against Florida. He's the team's top tackler and the defensive player most likely to single-handedly change the game. The Vols' defensive line must pull its weight today against what is weak Missouri offensive front. Edge: Missouri.
Missouri's Andrew Wilson and Will Ebner lead a unit that helps produce turnovers (Wilson has four fumble recoveries) and holds its own against the run. Tennessee's linebackers, thought to be a team strength earlier in the year, haven't been able to stop the bleeding on defense. Edge: Missouri.
Just when you thought the Vols' secondary couldn't get any worse, last week's game against Troy proved otherwise. Tennessee has shuffled personnel to no avail, and it's unclear what this week's changes will hold. Edge: Missouri.
Missouri's Marcus Murphy has a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and three punt returns for touchdowns. The downside of those big plays for Murphy is that the Vols will do everything they can to keep the ball out of his hands. Edge: Missouri.
The inaugural SEC season hasn't gone the way Missouri coach Gary Pinkel envisioned, but he has a long track record of success at the school. Tennessee's defensive coaching staff is juggling new responsibilities after last week's disaster. Edge: Missouri.
This is a tough one, as Missouri is coming off an encouraging loss, while Tennessee is coming off a discouraging win. The Vols have home-field advantage, but empty seats don't make as much noise. Edge: Even.
Tennessee 31, Missouri 30
The good news for Tennessee's defense is that there's nowhere to go but up. Allowing only 500 yards would be cause for celebration. If the Vols' offense keeps churning out touchdowns, the defense won't have to improve much.