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Missouri Can’t Overlook Tennessee’s Last- Place SEC Offense

The Volunteers don’t have one of the more electric offenses in the conference, but the Tigers have to take them seriously, as they just upset Kentucky.

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Sure, Tennessee may rank last in the SEC in total offense at just 340.9 total yards per game (113th in FBS), but it knocked off Kentucky in a big 24-7 win Saturday.

The Wildcats have one of the best defenses in the country, and as Missouri fans saw a few weeks ago, they pose some real trouble to opposing offenses. So putting up 24 points and 416 yards on Kentucky is no small feat. Giive credit where credit is due.

Tennessee relied heavily on the run against the Wildcats, accounting for over 65 percent of itsoffensive plays. They dominated on the ground, rushing 38 times for 219 yards (5.8 YPC) and a touchdown.

While the Volunteers rushed the ball for a vast majority of their biggest win of 2018, quarterback Jarrett Guarantano had an efficient day passing the ball. He completed 12-of-20 passes (60 percent) for 197 yards and two touchdowns. Guarantano averaged over 16 yards per completion, picking on a zone of the field Missouri’s had trouble defending all year — 10-to-20 yard passes.

Just as it looked like the Tigers’ secondary finally figured things out, Vanderbilt quarterback Kyle Shurmur tore them apart early last weekend. He could do no wrong in the first half, completing 14-of-17 passes (82.3 percent) for 142 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

This furthered the point that Missouri struggles time and time again against efficient quarterbacks such as Shurmur. Guarantano is no different, as he’s completed over 65 percent of his passes on the year. He hasn’t been a focal point of the offense so far this year, but Tennessee hasn’t faced a secondary quite as vulnerable as Missouri’s.

It should be interesting to see the offensive approach the Volunteers take come Saturday. Will they use the same strategy that worked in taking down Kentucky last week, or will they rely heavier on the pass like they did against Auburn where Guarantano went 21-32 for 328 yards and two touchdowns?

Even though they may average the least amount of yards per game in the SEC, this is no offense to overlook.