Knoxville, TN (SportsNetwork.com) – Maty Mauk threw two touchdown passes and
Marcus Murphy ran for two scores, as No. 19 Missouri picked up a crucial 29-21
win over Tennessee.
Mauk completed just 12-of-25 throws for 230 yards, but his fourth-quarter TD
passes to Jimmie Hunt and Bud Sasser were the difference. Murphy ran 19
times for 82 yards, and Russell Hansbrough added 68 yards on 15 carries.
Missouri (9-2, 6-1 SEC) controls its own destiny in the SEC East. With a win
next week against Arkansas, the Tigers will return to the SEC championship
game for the second straight season. If Arkansas wins, then Georgia, which
finished its SEC regular-season slate last week with a win over Auburn, would
represent the division in the title game.
“You talk about a team that battles and a team that makes plays and works off
of each other, and we’ve been doing it more, probably the last 7-to-8 weeks,
than we had at the beginning.” Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel said.
Joshua Dobbs, who had totaled 11 touchdowns over Tennessee’s last three games
since earning the starting job, went 24-for-37 for 195 yards with one
touchdown and an interception.
The Volunteers (5-6) need a win next week at Vanderbilt to become bowl
eligible for the first time since 2010.
“I’m very proud of our kids,” Tennessee head coach Butch Jones said. “They
didn’t quit; kept hanging in there, kept scratching, kept clawing, but as we
all know winning is very fragile. There were too many mistakes in three series
in a row.”
Andrew Baggett broke a 13-13 tie when he drilled a 43-yard field goal midway
through the third quarter. He then missed from 51 yards on the first play
of the fourth, but Missouri made up for the missed kick on its next
On 3rd-and-8 from the Tennessee 27, Mauk lofted a pass to Hunt, who came down
with it and broke a tackle on his way to the end zone. The 73-yard touchdown
was Missouri’s longest offensive play of the season.
The Tigers found the end zone again on their next touch. Following a three-
and-out, Mauk led a 6-play, 66-yard drive and hooked up with Sasser on a fade
near the left pylon from 13 yards out.
Dobbs hit Jason Croom for a 4-yard TD with 1:52 remaining, then ran in the
two-point conversion to make it a one-possession game. Missouri recovered the
ensuing onsides kick, however, and ran out the remaining time.
Missouri converted three third downs on the game’s first possession. Mauk used
his legs to extend the series on 3rd-and-5 from the Tennessee 46, Hansbrough
ran for 13 yards later in the series and Murphy made a 15-yard reception down
to the 1. On the very next play, Murphy ran off right tackle and shook off an
arm tackle before scooting into the end zone for an early touchdown.
Aaron Medley was pure with a 38-yard field goal to put the Volunteers on the
board at 3:41 of the first. They failed to pick up a first down on the series
but still converted solid field position into points. Christian Brinser punted
out of his own end zone and Jacob Carter returned it 14 yards to the Missouri
29, setting up Medley’s kick.
Tennessee reached into its bag of tricks to take the lead early in the second
quarter. The Vols lined up in field goal formation from the 31. Holder Patrick
Ashford received the snap, then quickly stood up and fired a dart to Alex
Ellis, who caught it in stride for a touchdown.
Missouri responded with another Murphy TD run a few minutes later, and
Medley’s 39-yard field goal made it 13-13 at halftime.
Missouri improved to 5-0 away from home this season … Pig Howard led
Tennessee with eight catches for 90 yards … Markus Golden had two of
Missouri’s six sacks … Missouri outgained Tennessee 180-53 on the ground and