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Tennessee 2018 Opponent Preview: A quick look at the Missouri Tigers

Are you ready for Derek Dooley’s offense?

NCAA Football: Texas Bowl-Texas vs Missouri Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It was the tale of two seasons in 2017 for the Missouri Tigers. The Tigers stumbled out of the gate to a 1-5 record before rattling off six straight wins and averaging 51.3 points per game offensively. A 7-5 record took the team to the Texas Bowl.

One of the victories in the win streak was a 50-17 thrashing over Tennessee. The Tigers rushed for over 425 yards which included 155 by Larry Rountree III who returns in 2018. Damarea Crockett and Rountree have combined for 1,765 yards the last two seasons.

Quarterback Drew Lock returns after considering a NFL bid. Lock will take plays from former Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley who was named Offensive Coordinator for 2018. Dooley will run a pro-style offense ideal for Lock who will benefit from his entire offensive line returning.

The Tigers look solid at receiver, despite losing 1,000 yard receiver J’Mon Moore. Emmanuel Hall returns, who put up 817 yards and eight touchdowns in 2017. 6-5, 260 pound Tight end Albert Okwuegbunan is back, looking to build off of his 11 touchdowns from last year. Johnathon Johnson also returns, who has put up 1,159 yards in two seasons.

Defensively, linebackers Terez Hall, Cale Garrett and Brandon Lee return to pace the defense. Corners DeMarkus Acy and Adam Sparks are back along with defensive tackle Terry Beckner Jr., who had 8.5 tackles for loss last year. Jordan Elliott, a Texas transfer, will bolster the line at the other tackle spot.

Placekicker Tucker McCann (15 of 17 field goals in 2017) is an added offensive threat.

Preseason predictors have the Tigers finishing fourth in the SEC East this year after a 4-4 conference mark in 2017. The Volunteers have a shot at avenging the loss to Missouri by hosting the Tigers at Neyland on November 17.