On an afternoon turned evening at Neyland Stadium, the Tigers rushed for 420 yards and gained 740 total yards but still fell 63-37 to host No. 19 Tennessee after the Volunteers pulled away in the fourth quarter.
“Offensively, that’s a pretty good day,” Missouri coach Barry Odom said. “I didn’t have enough answers defensively to put us there to win it.”
Tennessee senior quarterback Joshua Dobbs, playing his final home game, gouged the Tigers for 413 total yards and five touchdowns. He exploded for 223 yards and three touchdowns on 15-of-22 passing and rushed for 190 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries.
Missouri running backs Damarea Crockett and Ish Witter combined for 388 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. With his 225 yards rushing, on 24 carries, Crockett eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for his debut season and broke Brad Smith’s all-time school freshman rushing record of 1,029 yards in a season.
The Volunteers and Tigers produced a slugfest, combining for 1349 total yards on offense. Missouri’s mark of 740 yards stands as the most yardage Tennessee has ever given up in a single game.
“I liked the way that we came out in the second half,” Tennessee coach Butch Jones said. “I challenged them a little bit at halftime. We knew it was going to be this type of game. Missouri has a very explosive offense.”
Missouri’s offense sprinted up and down the field with ease. Crockett, Witter and Nate Strong gashed the Volunteers’ 102nd-ranked run defense. Unfortunately for the Tigers, a trio of Volunteers, led by Dobbs, combined for 346 yards on the ground.
The contest’s turning point came when Dobbs sliced up the Mizzou defense for a 70-yard touchdown run in the early fourth quarter, giving the Vols a two-possession lead.
“That was a big one, that hurt,” Odom said. “(Dobbs) has been effective all year. He’s a great player. He runs really well and he was throwing the ball well tonight.”
Dobbs’ counterpart, Missouri sophomore Drew Lock, finished with 320 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions on 21-of-43 passing. J'Mon Moore eclipsed the century mark in receiving yardage for the fifth time this season, finishing with 134 yards on nine receptions.
Missouri football notched its highest point total (37) against an SEC opponent since Oct. 18, 2014 against Florida, when they scored 42 in a landslide victory. The Tigers’ 740 yards on offense surpasses any total they’ve had since joining the SEC in 2012 and was just four yards shy of tying the school record.
“When you see your offense producing like that, you expect to win,” Witter said. “We need to stop the mistakes, then we’ll be fine.”
Dobbs exited the game for the final time at Neyland Stadium late in the fourth quarter. The crowd of 101,012 saluted him with a standing ovation as he walked toward the home sideline.
“And what can I say about the performance of Joshua Dobbs?" Jones said. “It was a very fitting last game in Neyland Stadium.”
The senior quarterback had his hands all over the contest, helping spur Tennessee (8-3, 4-3) to its third straight win. With the loss, Missouri fell to 3-8 overall and 1-6 in SEC play.
The Tigers close out the season at home against Arkansas at 1:30 p.m. next Friday.
You can follow Charlie Clarke on Twitter at @CWClarke18.
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