Missouri Tigers Drop Gary Pinkel's Final Home Game

Missouri Tigers Drop Gary Pinkel's Final Home Game

With bowl eligibility on the line, the Tigers played with no bite as Tennessee stole the show on Senior Day.

Josh McSwain

This year has been a turbulent one to say the least for the Missouri Tigers. The two time defending SEC East champions started 4-1, but struggled in wins over Connecticut and South Carolina. The offense has been the worst in the conference most of the year and once again produced very little in a 19-8 loss to the Tennessee Volunteers.

More circumstances have surrounded the program this season. Starting quarterback Maty Mauk was suspended, reinstated and then suspended again and the offense struggled in his absence. True freshman Drew Lock has done what he could with an extremely inexperienced group of wide receivers, which often has not been much. Furthermore the protests on campus caused the black players to say they would not play unless the University President resigned, which he did—and the players did not miss a game. Finally, head coach Gary Pinkel announced he was stepping down as head coach after 15 years on the sidelines.

In his final home game, on Senior Night, the Tigers gave an effort Pinkel wants to forget. In a sloppy game, the Tigers managed just 223 yards of offense and just 10 first downs. Two crucial turnovers also led to Tennessee points.

In the first quarter, Aaron Medley made two field goals for the Vols—one from 34 and another from 22. In the second quarter he made one from 44, but also missed one that would have given the Volunteers a 12 point lead. In the final minute of the half Tennessee took control as Josh Dobbs ran from eight yards out for the only Tennessee touchdown of the game, which gave the Vols a 16-0 lead going into half. Medley tacked on a 30 yarder in the third quarter to put Tennssee up 19-0 and that was more than enough for a stingy Vols defense.

In the fourth, with 9:49 to go, the Tigers looked like they were showing signs of life. They drove down the field and scored on a fourth and goal as Lock ran around the right side for a one yard touchdown. They converted the two pointer on a pass to Jason Reese and were within a touchdown—another two point conversion and a field goal. But the Vols held tight and took home the win, their first ever win over the Missouri Tigers. The two teams met for the first time in Missouri's first season in the SEC in 2012. The Tigers took the first three meetings but tonight was all about the Vols, even on an emotional night for Pinkel and the Missouri seniors.

Tennessee improves to 7-4 with their last game coming against the Vanderbilt Commodores next Saturday. They have really come on after their 2-3 start in which they lost heartbreakers to Oklahoma and Florida as well as a four point loss to Arkansas. For Missouri, they have one last chance to make a bowl game, but it will not be easy as they head to Fayetteville to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks next Friday. After starting 2-4 the hogs have also come on strong, winning four of their last five.