Medley's field goals, Hurd's legs lead Vols to victory

Aaron Medley's career day proves to be enough for Tennessee to take care of Missouri.

COLUMBIA, Mo. — On the fourth-coldest night in Tennessee's football record books, the only thing of any warmth inside Faurot Field was Aaron Medley's right foot. The junior kicked a career-high four field goals and the Vols' defense held Missouri to 233 total yards in a 19-8 win over the Tigers to spoil Missouri coach Gary Pinkel's last home game before retirement. 

The 28-degree weather was the coldest game day temperature of Pinkel's 15-year tenure at Missouri (5-6, 1-6 Southeastern Conference) and successfully complemented the ice-cold performance of his offense against the Vols. Tennessee (7-4, 4-3) held the Tigers to just 233 and one touchdown to snap a three-game losing streak to their SEC Eastern foes. 

"When you look at the kind of the storylines of the game, coming in here, we talked about patience and poise," coach Butch Jones said. "Obviously it was concerning that we had to kick field goals and not get points in the red zone, but our players just kept their poise, kept their patience." 

Medley wasn't the only Vol who turned in a career day. Jalen Hurd became the first player to gain 1,000 yards in a season since Rajion Neal in 2013.

layer to rush for over 100 yards on Missouri this season with 151 yards on 34 carries — both career bests. Hurd's impressive performance came when the Vols could only assemble 89 passing yards on 24 attempts. Alvin Kamara spelled Hurd with 43 yards of his own on seven carries while quarterback Josh Dobbs accounted for 54 to bring the Vols' rushing total to 248 yards against the No. 3 rushing defense in the SEC coming into the game.

"That's such a big accomplishment to us," Kyler Kerbyson said of Hurd cracking the 1,000 yard mark."That's what we were really striving for this year ... It's a really big accomplishment and I'm very happy that Jalen got that and I'm very happy with all the offensive lineman that have played this year and helped toward that." 

Medley's four field goals were parceled out throughout the first three quarters, the first of which came afer Cameron Sutton secured his first interception of the season and the first of any cornerback on Tennessee's team to silence an emotional crowd. 

"We talked about starting fast and we needed to generate some of our own momentum on the road," Jones said. "Obviously that turnover was key to starting the game." 

The Vols' defense forced nine punts and notched two turnovers in the win, holding Missouri's anemic offense to just 2-of-15 on third down. Offensively, Tennessee struggled in the red zone, converting just one possession into a touchdown when Dobbs rumbled for an 8-yard touchdown with 17 seconds left in the first half ater a 3:01 drive that began on the Vols' 36-yard line. 

Missouri scored a touchdown on a 1-yard run by Drew Lock with 9:49 to play, but it wouldn't be enough to overcome the barrage of field goals by Tennessee. 

Tennessee's players refused to wear long sleeves despite the frigid conditions in an attempt to embrace the cold weather. The offense's fireworks on the ground were enough to keep everyone on the sideline warm.

"That's just the menatlity, that's a mindset that we have in our football program," Jones said. "You embrace the uncontrollable factors and we embraced it. When we came over here this morning, I could see the kids had that look in the eye and they were looking forward to embracing it."


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