No. 10 Missouri (8-1, 4-1 SEC) took command of the game early and never allowed Tennessee (4-5, 1-4) a chance to come back Saturday night in Columbia, Missouri. Quarterback Maty Mauk had three touchdowns in the victory that helps Missouri continue to set the pace in the SEC East.
Mauk passed for 163 yards and three touchdowns and was the game’s leading rusher with 114 yards. His three touchdown passes went to three different players. Mauk has played well for Missouri while James Franklin has been sidelined with an injury. It might be interesting to see what Gary Pinkel does with his quarterback situation if Franklin is available at some point. If Franklin does return, will Franklin and Mauk split playing time, or will Pinkel decide to stick with the hot hand? For now, this is Mauk’s offense and he is running with it.
That offense piled up 502 yards of offense against Tennessee, a team that seems to be running out of gas coming down the stretch of a brutal schedule. While Missouri is certainly heading to a bowl game and still in the conversation for a BCS bowl spot, Tennessee is close to having their backs against the walls. With three games to play, the Vols need to win two games to become eligible for postseason play. Tennessee gets the next two games at home against Auburn and Vanderbilt and ends the regular season on the road against Kentucky.
The Tigers are now one giant step closer to playing for their first conference championship since taking on Oklahoma in the 2008 Big 12 championship game. The last time Missouri won a conference championship was in 1969, when the Tigers won the Big Eight title. A win next week against Kentucky will make it even easier for Missouri to get to the SEC Championship Game in their second season in the conference.