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The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
Columbia, MO

Tennessee defeats Missouri in Pinkel's home finale

2861 days ago
Associated Press

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Tennessee ignored the pre-game hoopla and the adverse conditions.

The Volunteers played in short sleeves in 28-degree weather and dominated on defense, spoiling Gary Pinkel's Missouri home finale.

"You just control what you can control," quarterback Joshua Dobbs said after the 19-8 victory on Saturday night. "Once you got out there, you just played. All the outside stuff doesn't affect the game."

Jalen Hurd rushed for a career-best 151 yards on 34 carries and Dobbs, working behind a line that didn't permit a sack, had Tennessee's only touchdown on an 8-yard run with 17 seconds to go in the first half.

"It was big for momentum," Dobbs said. "We did a great job of finishing that drive."

Aaron Medley had a career-best four field goals in five attempts for the Volunteers (7-4, 4-3 SEC), who have won four in a row, three of them handily, and beat Missouri for the first time in four tries.

Medley had been 13 for 21 on the year.

"That first one felt good to get out of the way," Medley said. "Kickers, we start getting a rhythm, confidence goes up."

Tennessee held opponents scoreless for eight consecutive quarters before Drew Lock scored on a 1-yard keeper on fourth-and-goal with 9:49 to go and hit Jason Reese for a two-point conversion. The Volunteers had Missouri pinned down much of the game, with five possessions beginning at the 11 or worse, and the Tigers were 2 for 15 on third down.

The shutout streak was the school's longest since 2002.

Preston Williams' interception stopped Missouri's first possession on what Pinkel said was a busted call, and Tennessee also recovered a fumble. The Volunteers had 36:18 in time of possession, including almost five minutes late before Missouri got its final shot with just 1:13 to go.

"We talked about starting fast," Tennessee coach Butch Jones said. "We needed to generate some of our own momentum on the road and that turnover was a key, absolutely."

Missouri (5-6, 1-6) needs a victory in the finale at Arkansas to avoid just the second losing record in the last 11 under Pinkel, who holds the school career record with 118 victories in 15 seasons. The 63-year-old Pinkel is resigning at the end of the season after revealing he has lymphoma.

"I certainly didn't want it to end like this," Pinkel said, drying eyes from tears in the locker room. "I love those kids. Gosh darn it, they know what I'm like."

Senior linemen Evan Boehm and Connor McGovern carried Pinkel off the field.

Attendance of 59,575, about 12,000 shy of a sellout, was no doubt held down by the coldest temperature at home under Pinkel -- and fourth-coldest in Tennessee history. Perhaps half the crowd had left before the fourth quarter.

Hurd topped his previous career best of 125 yards against South Carolina last season and was the first opponent to gain 100 yards against Missouri by halftime when he had 108 yards on 16 carries. It's his eighth career 100-yard game, four in each of his two seasons, and topped 1,000 yards for the year.

Lock was 13 of 30 for 135 yards for an offense averaging just 14.5 points, the school's worst since 1971.

Dobbs broke a few tackles on his touchdown run late in the half that put Tennessee up 16-0. Missouri was held to 62 yards and Lock was sacked twice.

Tennessee had excellent field position in the first quarter, starting no worse than its own 44, and had drives of just 35, 36 and 27 yards while taking a 9-0 lead early in the second quarter on Medley's three field goals, including a 44-yarder that matched his career best.

Boehm, the center, set a school record with his 51st consecutive start. Defensive back Carl Gettis started 50 in a row from 2007-10.