Last season, Missouri beat Tennessee 51-48 in quadruple overtime.
Andrew Baggett’s 35-yard field goal was the difference.
Of course, Baggett, a sophomore kicker for the Tigers who graduated from Lee’s Summit North, has taken heat this week after missing a 24-yard kick in double overtime against South Carolina last Saturday.
But there won’t be any hesitation on Missouri’s part to bring Baggett back out should the rematch with the Volunteers come down to a field goal again.
Coach Gary Pinkel and Baggett’s teammates expressed their full faith Monday during the Tigers’ weekly media day.
“I told Andrew at the beginning of the year, ‘I have all the faith in you and no matter what happens, whatever the outcome is, I have faith in you and know you can do it,’” said sophomore center Evan Boehm, a Lee’s Summit West graduate.
Boehm continued, “Yeah, (the loss) hurts, but you don’t know how bad it hurts until you’re that kid. I’m not going to sit here and say I know how it feels, because I definitely don’t. But I can definitely see it in his eyes. I’m so proud of the kid, and I trust in the kid 100 percent right now just like I did 100 percent during that game.”
Baggett could have leaned on myriad excuses — a high snap threw off his run, holder Braylon Webb wasn’t able to spin the laces away from his foot, there was even a photo that suggested the crossbar wasn’t level.
Instead, Baggett took full responsibility.
“We could play the blame game with everybody, but it’s my fault. I didn’t connect on it (and) it hit the pole,” Baggett said.
But he’s eager for a shot at redemption.Other story lines
•THE TURNOVER MACHINE:
Missouri’s streak of consecutive games with a turnover reached 38 last week, the longest active streak among BCS teams. It has been more than three years — Oct. 30, 2010, at Nebraska — since the Tigers failed to force at least one turnover.
Quarterback James Franklin resumed throwing and the possibility that he plays remains. Based on past history with injuries, Missouri probably made a decision Thursday, but it will be worth keeping an eye on warm-ups to see if Franklin’s out there. Otherwise, it will be redshirt freshman Maty Mauk’s show for a third straight week.
•MICHAEL SAM WATCH: With 10 sacks and 16 tackles for loss, Missouri senior defensive end Michael Sam has been arguably the nation’s most disruptive defensive force this season. He is closing in on Aldon Smith’s record 11 1/2 sacks in 2009, and already ranks fourth on the MU single-season list, tied with Antwaun Bynum (10 in 2002). Justin Smith (11 in 2000) and Styker Sulak (10 1/2 in 2008) also are ahead of Sam.