Tennessee routed by No. 10 Missouri 31-3

Another slow start on the road, another blowout loss for

Tennessee.

Joshua Dobbs completed 26-of-42 passes for 240 yards but threw

two interceptions in his first start as the Volunteers lost 31-3 to

No. 10 Missouri on Saturday night. The freshman also rushed for a

team-high 45 yards, nearly half of the team’s 94 total yards on the

ground.

The Volunteers dug a 17-0 hole in the second quarter and trailed

24-3 at the half a week after a 35-0 deficit midway through a 42-10

loss at No. 1 Alabama. The three points were the team’s fewest

since getting the same against South Carolina in a 14-3 loss on

Oct. 29, 2011.

”I’m disappointed but I’m not discouraged,” first-year coach

Butch Jones said. ”Nobody said it’s going to be easy.”

Tennessee (4-5, 1-4 Southeastern Conference) has lost all four

of its road games this season by at least 14 points and have

dropped 19 consecutive on opponents’ fields dating back to 2010. It

hasn’t defeated a ranked team on the road since 2006.

The Volunteers gained 334 yards to Missouri’s 502, providing

little help for Dobbs. In the team’s best scoring chance, receiver

Josh Smith dropped a touchdown pass that led to a 51-yard field

goal by Michael Palardy that made the score 17-3 with 4:13

remaining in the first half.

”Josh is very mature,” receiver Pig Howard said. ”He’s always

poised. Regardless of any mistake he makes, he comes back with a

positive attitude. He’s just a hard worker in general. He wasn’t

down on himself at all.”

Howard caught a career-high 11 passes for 89 yards, besting his

previous high of eight against South Carolina two weeks ago.

Maty Mauk threw three touchdown passes and ran for 114 yards for

Missouri (8-1, 4-1) in a dominant and resilient effort.

The Tigers responded smartly a week after squandering a 17-point

cushion in the fourth quarter of a double-overtime loss to South

Carolina. Andrew Baggett banged another chip-shot field goal

attempt off the left goalpost, eerily similar to his game-ending

misfire a week earlier, but instead of heartbreak they still took a

24-3 cushion into halftime.

Missouri forced three turnovers and committed none in Mauk’s

best game in three starts in place of injured James Franklin. Mauk

had 114 yards on 13 carries, and threw touchdown passes to Dorial

Green-Beckham, L’Damian Washington and Marcus Lucas in the first

half. Franklin (shoulder sprain) warmed up before the game.

”We expected him to run,” Jones said. ”That’s part of Maty’s

game. He can make plays with his legs. . Those things are

catastrophic to a defense when a quarterback’s able to run like

he’s able to run.”

Dobbs also lost a fumble in place of injured Justin Worley, out

indefinitely after thumb surgery. Tennessee was 2 for 13 on third

down.

E.J. Gaines and Braylon Webb had interceptions for Missouri and

Matt White had a fumble recovery on a strip by Darvin Ruise.

Missouri has forced a turnover in 39 consecutive games, the longest

streak in the nation.

Mauk entered with 22 yards rushing on 21 carries. His 27-yard

scramble to the 11 with one second left in the half led to

Baggett’s 29-yard miss.

Dobbs had 101 yards passing and 43 rushing in the first half,

dulled by two turnovers. Washington was alone in the end zone on a

26-yard catch set up by Gaines’ team-leading interception to make

it 17-0 midway through the second quarter.

”I said at the beginning of the season that we needed to be a

blue-collar team,” Jones said. ”Our margin of error is very

small, we need to overachieve in any and all areas to have a

chance. Missouri is a good football team but what I cannot tolerate

is missed assignments, the penalties.”