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What The Vols Must Do To Beat The Missouri Tigers

Tennessee running back Tiyon Evans (8) scores a touchdown during a game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. Kns Tennessee Florida Football

Josh Heupel and the Tennessee Vols hope to get their first SEC win this weekend as they face the Missouri Tigers.

The kickoff is at noon, and the game will be televised on the SEC Network.

The Vols are coming off a tough 38-14 loss against Florida.

Despite only trailing by 3 at halftime, a couple of TDs given to Florida and a key dropped pass on 4th down ended the Vols hopes in pulling off the upset.

Missouri is also looking to get back on the win column after a tough overtime loss to Missouri.

Both teams have a 2-2 record at the moment and look to get their first in conference play.

This is the important game of the year for the 2021 season.

With a win against Missouri, this puts the Vols to three wins and comfortable getting to six wins.

However, a loss would already put the Vols’ backs against the wall and make the South Carolina and Kentucky games must-wins.

For the Vols to extend their win streak against Missouri to three, here is what they must do:

Receivers Must Step Up

Wide Receivers have to do their part and better catch and hold onto the football.

They did improve against Florida and showed some flashes, including a nice deep TD catch from JaVonta Payton in the 2nd Quarter.

But a couple of key drops from Jimmy Calloway also cost the Vols any shot of an upset.

There has to be more consistency from the WR corp.

Whether it is Jalin Hyatt, Jimmy Calloway, JaVonta Payton, or even Velus Jones Jr, the WRs need to step up.

Heupel and Golesh are doing their part on getting guys open.

It’s time for the wide outs to hold on to the ball and make plays.

Take Advantage of Missouri’s Rush Defense

Tennessee must take advantage of Missouri’s rush defense if they want to come out of Columbia with a win.

The Vols faced a pretty good Florida defense last weekend and managed to rack up 148 rushing yards.

Luckily for the Vols, Missouri’s rushing defense is nowhere near the level of Florida’s.

In fact, there is only one team in the country that was a worse rushing defense than Missouri: The Ohio Bobcats.

In Missouri’s four games (Central Michigan, Kentucky, SE Missouri St, and Boston College), the Tigers on average give up 269 yards to the run game.

Tennessee’s Tiyon Evans and Jabari Small should have themselves a field day against this Tiger defense.

If the Vols stick to the run game on Saturday, they will have a great chance of a Win.

Consistency at Quarterback

If there is anything that Josh Heupel and his staff need to figure out, it is the QB position.

To say that the passing game has been frustrating to watch this season would be an understatement.

It is certainly an improvement from what we all have had to endure over the last four years.

But it could be so much better.

Hendon Hooker performed well against Florida, throwing 13-23 for 221 yards and 2 TDs.

However, an injury in the 4th quarter led to Hooker being replaced by Joe Milton.

Milton again overthrew most of his targets and only went 2-8 for 54 yards last Saturday.

Milton has completed just 46.5% of his passes this season.

What is also concerning is that both Milton and Hooker are the least successful deep passers entering Week 5.

Milton is only completing 10% of his deep passes, while Hooker has only completed 18.2%.

Whether it is Milton or Hooker or both under center come Saturday, the deep passing game has to improve and be more consistent.

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