What we learned in Mizzou football's 62-24 loss to Tennessee

Eric Blum
Columbia Daily Tribune

Missouri entered Saturday's matchup against Tennessee looking to rebound after its overtime loss against Boston College last weekend. 

What the Tigers did against the Volunteers was the opposite.

Tennessee trounced the Tigers 62-24 in a demoralizing defeat at Faurot Field before 45,655 fans, Missouri's smallest home crowd of the season. The Tigers fall to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the Southeastern Conference.

Tennessee won its third straight game over Missouri by putting the Tigers away early with four first-quarter touchdowns and 45 first-half points. 

Blum: Immediate change should be on the horizon for Mizzou defense

UT added 10 more points in the third quarter. MU's first defensive stop of the day came early in the fourth.

Missouri's final nonconference game is up next against North Texas at home next Saturday. The Mean Green have yet to beat an FBS team in 2021 and are 1-3 overall. 

Here's what we learned in Missouri's blowout loss to Tennessee:

More:Final score and recap: Tennessee dismantles Mizzou 62-24

Historically bad

Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) runs against Missouri defensive back Shawn Robinson (12) as Tennessee running back Tiyon Evans (8) blocks during the first half Saturday at Faurot Field.

Tennessee's 45-point first half represented the most points Missouri has given up to an opponent in the first two quarters in more than 30 years. 

The Tigers gave up 45 points in a half on Oct. 13, 1990, to then-No. 7 Nebraska. The Tigers lost that game 69-21. That's the week after the infamous Fifth Down loss to Colorado.

On Nov. 8, 1986, Missouri lost to then-No. 4 Oklahoma 77-0 in Norman. The Sooners scored 49 in the first half.

Both of those losses were to top-10 teams on the road. The defeat to Tennessee came with Missouri playing in Columbia as a field-goal favorite in most betting lines against a Volunteers team that hadn't previously defeated a Power Five opponent under new head coach Josh Heupel.

Perceptions changed

Tennessee defensive lineman Ja'Quain Blakely (48) and Missouri offensive lineman Hyrin White (50) defend against one another during a game Saturday at Faurot Field.

Missouri will now have to beat a team ranked the top 15 of the latest Associated Press poll to become bowl-eligible in 2021. 

MU has three unranked opponents left this season — South Carolina, Vanderbilt and next week's matchup against North Texas. 

Also left on the schedule are No. 2 Georgia, Florida, Texas A&M and Arkansas. Missouri travels to face the Bulldogs and Razorbacks, while the Gators and Aggies will visit Faurot Field. 

The Oct. 16 clash against Texas A&M will be the first test among that ranked quartet. 

The Tigers' tough road to a bowl game can also be attributed to not capitalizing on chances in their previous two losses, by seven points each to Kentucky and Boston College.

Badie still breaks a record

Missouri running back Tyler Badie (1) is forced out of bounds by Tennessee defensive back Theo Jackson (26) on Saturday at Faurot Field.

Even amid the carnage, starting running back Tyler Badie became the first MU player to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in his Tiger career.

Badie achieved the feat on a 17-yard reception from Connor Bazelak in the first quarter. 

Earlier this week, Badie was named a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which is annually bestowed by the National Football Foundation to the nation’s top football scholar-athlete.

The senior followed up the nomination with 21 carries for 41 yards and a rushing touchdown. Badie also caught each of his three targets for 27 yards. 

By the numbers

Tennessee running back Tiyon Evans (8) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the first half against Missouri on Saturday at Faurot Field.

Tennessee fell short of the record for yards put up against a Missouri defense (750), which Oklahoma accrued in the aforementioned 77-0 win on 74 plays.

The Volunteers did rack up 677 yards of total offense Saturday, however — 452 of which came on the ground. Tennessee had six players gain 38 rushing yards or more. UT was led by Tiyon Evans, who had 15 carries for 156 yards and three touchdowns. 

Bazelak didn't throw a touchdown pass against Tennessee but threw two interceptions. He finished with 321 passing yards.

Contact Eric Blum at eblum@columbiatribune.com. Follow @ByEricBlum on Twitter.

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