Tennessee-Missouri: Head-to-head statistical rankings

Below is a look at Tennessee’s national stat rankings side-by-side with the counterpart rankings for the Missouri Tigers. Bottom line for this week: Both defenses appear to have huge advantages, so whichever team can make the most of that, manage at least something respectable on offense, and win the turnover battle should win.

Details below.

When the Vols have the ball

Where’s the opportunity?

Well, maybe our quarterback won’t get sacked. And maybe our running backs won’t be tripped up behind our own line of scrimmage. Other than that, the answer to this question may be, “On defense.”

Where’s the danger?

Everywhere you look. Missouri’s defense is Top 10 overall, 6th against the pass and 34th against the run. When their side looks mostly green with a little bit of yellow and ours looks mostly orange, it’s not good news.

Gameplan for the Vols on offense

Use the off week to scheme up a couple of free and easy scores. Other than that, just balance, I guess, and see what you can get. And play slow so your defense isn’t worn out in the fourth quarter.

Vols on defense

Where’s the opportunity?

And the tables turn. Missouri’s offense is really struggling. This is especially true in the red zone, but mostly true everywhere. The Vols defense isn’t Top 10 or anything, but it does appear to be significantly better than the Tigers offense.

Where’s the danger?

The danger is that to the extent Tennessee might have an advantage when the Vols are on defense, it’s not as pronounced as Missouri’s advantage when the Vols offense is on the field.

Gameplan for the Vols on defense

Get off the field quick, but don’t give up any big plays. They are allergic to the red zone, so don’t let them avoid it by scoring from 20+ yards out.

Special teams

If the Vols can return a punt for a touchdown in this game, it’s going to help a lot. Problem is, we can’t sleep when punting to them, either.

Turnovers and penalties

Oh, good. They like to self-destruct via yellow flags. Neither team appears to be more vulnerable than the other to turnovers, so whoever can win that battle will have more of a leg up than usual.

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