Tennessee defensive back Bryce Thompson (20) runs back an interception in the first half of an NCAA college football game against UAB, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Tennessee and Missouri Battle for Bowl Eligibility

The Tennessee Volunteers travel to Columbia this weekend in a fight for a bowl and revenge against the Missouri Tigers.

Both Tennesee and Missouri have problems closing out games. The scoring in the first half will be a huge advantage due to both sides’ endurance issues.

After a 1-4 start, Tennessee has fought back to a 5-5 record. Head Coach Jeremy Pruitt says how the team is continuing to improve by learning from their losses.

Tennesse Has Yet to Name Starting QB

Pruitt has decided who he will start as quarterback, he just won’t tell anyone until game day.

The starting position will be between partially-healthy Jarrett Guarantano, or the freshmen Brian Maurer and J.T. Shrout. 

Jarrett Guarantano’s Status

Guarantano had surgery on a broken bone in his hand Oct. 27 but played the last two games against Kentucky and UAB, which the Vols both won. He has seen some playtime but hasn’t started a game since September.

Coming off the bye, Guarantano has had extra time to practice but it is unclear if he will start.

Freshmen QBs: Brian Maurer & J.T. Shrout

Maurer, the Ocala native, scored three touchdowns this year, two passing and one QB sneak against the Crimson Tide. He then left the game with an injury.

Shrout went in for Maurer and had one passing attempt which was incomplete. He started against UAB and was three of six for 34 yards. He also aided in the win against South Carolina, completing seven of 12 passes and throwing for 122 yards.

Missouri QB Kelly Bryant

If Missouri wants to have a repeat of last year, Bryant will have to step it up. The transfer from Clemson has 2,049 passing yards this year, 14 touchdowns and six interceptions this season. The season numbers are fine, but in the last four games, he’s thrown as many touchdowns as interceptions (3) and Mizzou has only put up 27 points.

Defense to Make Up for Offense

Both teams have even records with a lack of spark on offense. However, on the other side of the ball, they look pretty good. The Tennesee and Missouri defenses are ranked in the top 25.

Missouri Head Coach Barry Odom knows that his defense is good, but also acknowledges that just one side of the ball can’t win a football game.

The game is going to come down to whichever defense lets up and gives their opponent a chance to score points.

How to Watch

The game will be in Columbia, Missouri on SEC Network at 7:30 p.m.

About Cristina Sinofsky

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