What a difference a month has made for the Missouri Tigers.
After falling to 1-5 and Barry Odom having a fiery press conference, the Tigers have done a complete 180, most recently defeating Tennessee, 50-17 to improve to 5-5 and suddenly looking like a bowl contender.
Over the course of the win streak, it’s been Drew Lock leading the charge on offense, had had four touchdowns, but certainly wasn’t the main story. Saturday night, it was the rushing attack, as Ish Witter and Larry Rountree combined for nearly 400 yards and two touchdowns against a hapless Vols team.
Tennessee, on the other hand, looked absolutely lost on offense all night, gaining just 285 yards to Mizzou’s 659 and being shutout for the entire second half.
Butch Jones Watch is about to kick into high gear, and it sure looked like the Vols already knew the result. Missouri played like they knew their coach may be on the hot seat and wanted to keep him. Tennessee played like they couldn’t care less.
Will McBride found Ethan Wolf in the first quarter for the only Vols offensive touchdown of the night. Their other score came on a pick six. They’re a team that looks downtrodden and defeated, and couldn’t be more opposite of their counterparts on Saturday night in Columbia.
In addition to just being bowl eligible, the Mizzou Tigers need to beat Vanderbilt and Arkansas and they’re 7-5, which is definitively bowl eligible. Again, they started the year 1-5. Suddenly, you look at the fact that Drew Lock could possibly be returning, and suddenly, Drew Lock is in the upper tier of SEC quarterbacks next season.
The treatment of Barry Odom this year (including, admittedly, from yours truly) was similar to the treatment of Gary Pinkel when Mizzou went 5-7 in its first season in the SEC. Fans wanted a change. The team stayed the course and it paid off. Whether Odom will have the same success over the next two seasons remains to be seen, but it’s clear that Athletic Director Jim Sterk was right to not listen to the peanut gallery.