The Tigers still control their own destiny in the SEC East race after a victory on Rocky Top Saturday night.
Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk threw for 230 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns, and halfback Marcus Murphy added 72 yards and a pair of scores on the ground, as the Missouri Tigers knocked off Tennessee 29-21 Saturday night in a key SEC East contest. The win gives Missouri (8-2, 6-1 SEC) at least a share of the SEC East title and leaves Tennessee
The teams stumbled through a sloppy first half, going to the locker room tied at 13. Missouri kicker Andrew Baggett broke the tie with a third-quarter field goal, and an acrobatic 73-yard touchdown catch from receiver Jimmie Hunt early in the fourth quarter extended the Tigers’ lead to nine. Another Mauk bomb, this one to Bud Sasser, cemented the Tigers victory. Tennessee scored a late touchdown to make it interesting, but were called for fielding the ensuing onside kick before it had traveled ten yards, and Mizzou was able to run out the clock.
It was not clean or easy for the Tigers. Missouri was called for 14 penalties, and Mauk completed just 12 of his 25 pass attempts. Baggett, who entered Saturday a perfect 36/36 on extra points, missed two PAT attempts. But Butch Jones’s Volunteers were not able to capitalize on Missouri’s mistakes, thanks in no small part to an opportunistic Missouri defense that held Tennessee to just 193 yards of offense and 2/10 on third down.
The championship picture in the SEC East is now clear: Missouri faces the suddenly-hot Arkansas Razorbacks in Columbia Friday afternoon. If the Tigers win, they will represent the SEC East in the conference championship game. If Arkansas is victorious, Missouri would tie with Georgia for the SEC East crown, and the Bulldogs would play for the conference title due to their blowout win over the Tigers earlier this year.
Tennessee (5-6, 2-5 SEC) now needs a road win over Vanderbilt next week to attain bowl eligibility. The Volunteers have not posted six wins since a 6-6 regular season record and Music City Bowl berth in 2010. A loss to the Commodores would leave the Vols 5-7 for the fourth consecutive season.