Key play: Pick one of Missouri’s three third-down conversions on the game’s opening drive, a 12-play march that covered 75 yards before senior Marcus Murphy scored his second rushing touchdown of the season on a 1-yard run.
Key stat: Tennessee finished the first period with minus-11 yards rushing, including an 8-yard sack by Missouri senior Markus Golden and a 9-yard sack by junior Shane Ray and sophomore Harold Brantley. Overall, the Volunteers’ offense managed only 31 yards, compared to 101 for the Tigers.
Key play: Tennessee lined up for a 48-yard field goal early in the second quarter, but holder Patrick Asher lobbed a 31-yard touchdown pass to junior backup tight end Alex Ellis, who got behind Missouri free safety Ian Simon for the go-ahead score.
Key stat: Missouri commited six penalties for 35 yards in the first half, while Tennessee wasn’t flagged for a single first-half penalty.
Key play: Missouri junior kicker Andrew Baggett missed an first-half extra point, but he atoned a bit with a 43-yard field goal in the third quarter. Those were the only points for either team during the period and staked the Tigers to a 16-13 lead.
Key stat: Tennessee entered the game as one of the nation’s least penalized teams, committing fewer than four penalties for fewer than 30 yards per game. The Volunteers had three penalties for 30 yards in the third quarter alone, including a pair of third-down penalties that extended Missouri’s go-ahead field-goal drive.
Key play: Tennessee was driving for a potential go-ahead touchdown when sophomore quarterback Josh Dobbs’ slant to freshman wide receiver Josh Malone was thrown a little behind and resulted in a tipped pass and interception by Missouri junior cornerback Kenya Dennis.
Key stat: Before senior wide receiver Jimmie Hunt’s 73-yard touchdown catch and run, Missouri’s longest pass play of the season entering Saturday’s game was a 47-yard pass to senior wide receiver Bud Sasser against Toledo.
Player of the game: Senior defensive end Markus Golden continued his resurgence with six tackles, incliding 2 sacks and 2 1/2 tackles for a loss. He was a standout for the Tigers’ stingy front seven, which helped limit Tennessee to 279 total yards.
Reason to hope: Missouri’s defense continues to perform at a high level. Defensive ends Golden and Shane Ray remain a force, and strong safety Braylon Webb returned to the lineup with a strong effort, including six tackles, with one for a loss.
Reason to mope: Missouri won’t play another true road game this season. The Tigers have won a team-record 10 in a row in opponents’ stadiums, but both of this season’s losses and the only regular-season loss last season came at Memorial Stadium.
Looking ahead: Missouri’s victory means it will return to the SEC championship game with a win Friday against Arkansas, which has turned a corner in SEC play by snapping a 17-game conference skid with back-to-back shutout wins against LSU (17-0) and Mississippi (30-0). The Razorbacks still own an eight-game winless streak on the road in SEC play.
Quarterback Maty Mauk only completed 12 of 25 passes, but he did produce the season’s longest play on a 73-yard touchdown to Jimmie Hunt. The Tigers largely controlled the game with a rushing attack that churned out 44 carries for 172 yards.
Aided by a pair of turnovers, Missouri limited a Tennessee offense that had totaled 95 points in the last two weeks to only 279 yards.
Missouri gave up a touchdown on a fake field goal, conceded field position in the punting game, committed penalties and allowed some big ones to Tennessee. Andrew Baggett also missed two extra points. It was a poor showing.
The game plan was solid. Missouri once again was ready to play on the road, but the Tigers also continue to be plagued by penalties. MU racked up another 12 penalties for 82 yards.
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @todpalmer.