HOUSTON, TX- NOVEMBER 15: Jason Reese #10 of the Missouri Tigers warms up before playing the Texas A&M Aggies in a NCAA football game on November 15, 2014 at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images) By Thomas B. Shea
Missouri can capture a second straight SEC Eastern Division title by beating Tennessee on Saturday and Arkansas on Nov. 28. A loss in either game would send No. 9 Georgia (CFP No. 10) to the SEC championship game instead. Tennessee can become bowl eligible for the first time since 2010 by beating Missouri or by winning Nov. 29 at Vanderbilt.
Tennessee pass protection vs. Missouri pass rush: After giving up 30 sacks over its first seven games, Tennessee has allowed just three sacks over its last three games. The improved pass protection coincides with Joshua Dobbs' emergence as Tennessee's starting quarterback. Missouri leads the SEC with 34 sacks and boasts two quality defensive ends in Shane Ray and Markus Golden. Ray leads the SEC with 13 ½ sacks.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
MISSOURI: RB Russell Hansbrough ran for a career-high 199 yards last week in a 34-27 victory at Texas A&M. That outstanding performance came just one week after Hansbrough ran for just 19 yards on 15 carries in a 20-10 triumph over Kentucky. Which version of Hansbrough shows up Saturday?
TENNESSEE: DE Derek Barnett has recorded nine sacks this season, and eight of them have come in his last four games. Barnett, a freshman, has 18 tackles for loss to match Ray for the SEC lead.
FACTS & FIGURES
Tennessee will be playing at less than full strength on defense. Leading tackler A.J. Johnson and cornerback Michael Williams are suspended from all team-related activities and are the subjects of an ongoing rape investigation in which no charges have been filed thus far. Tennessee also will play the first half without safety Brian Randolph, who received a targeting penalty in a 50-16 victory over Kentucky last week. ... Missouri is seeking its 10th straight road win, which would set a school record and continue a streak that started last year. Missouri won nine straight road games from 1978-80. ... Dobbs made his first career start last year in Tennessee's 31-3 loss to Missouri.