1. Kelly Bryant vs. Tennessee defense
After missing the game against Georgia, Bryant returned to the field against Florida last Saturday to some success, but the Tigers still were unable to score a touchdown. Bryant hasn’t had a takeover performance since the win over Mississippi. Tennessee’s defense has given up 11 passing touchdowns this season and an average of 195 passing yards per game. The Volunteers have also made 14 interceptions. Does Bryant find holes in a Tennessee defense that’s given up 50 points to the Tigers each of the past two years? Or is this the year the Vols quiet Missouri?
Edge: Kelly Bryant
2. Missouri defense vs. Jarrett Guarantano or Brian Maurer
Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt said he knows which of his quarterbacks will start against the Tigers but won't disclose the decision. Missouri head coach Barry Odom said he plans to see a combination of the Volunteers' three signal callers. Guarantano and Maurer have seen the lion’s share of action at quarterback for Tennessee this season. That is expected to continue in both teams' penultimate game of the regular season. Georgia's Jake Fromm and Florida's Kyle Trask did plenty to throw the Tigers off course. How will Tennessee fare behind center?
Edge: Missouri defense
3. Jauan Jennings vs. Tigers' defensive backs
Jennings is arguably Tennessee’s best playmaker. At wide receiver, he’s caught 50 passes for 771 yards and seven touchdowns. Jennings is the Volunteers' leading receiver by nearly 300 yards. Missouri’s defensive backs have been one of the biggest improvements on the team this season, but the unit had maybe its worst game of the season against Florida, with Trask consistently spreading the ball to Gator receivers. Does Jennings open up gaps in the MU defense? Or is this a quick turnaround for the Tigers' secondary?
Edge: Jauan Jennings
4. Missouri at 5-5 vs. Tennessee at 5-5
These Southeastern Conference rivals have the same record entering Saturday’s matchup but are trending in completely opposite directions. The Tigers have lost four straight games, while the Volunteers have won three straight and haven’t lost since Sept. 21 to a team not currently in the top five of the College Football Playoff rankings. The one true difference among common opponents is that Tennessee beat Kentucky, while Missouri lost to the Wildcats by 22. With bowl eligibility on the line, which team gets over the hump?
Edge: Tennessee at 5-5
5. Barry Odom vs. Jeremy Pruitt
The head coaching matchup. Odom and Pruitt were longtime defensive assistants under legendary coaches such as Gary Pinkel and Nick Saban. Both are in their first head coaching jobs. Is there a difference from the sidelines that either coach provides that makes a difference in the game? Odom does hold a 1-0 all-time advantage against Pruitt, but there might not be a more meaningless stat to the two of them come Saturday.