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Tennessee Volunteers Offensive Players to Watch vs. Missouri Tigers

These are the Volunteers to keep an eye on when Missouri takes on No. 5 Tennessee this weekend.

This Saturday will see the Missouri Tigers face their toughest road obstacle of the season when they travel to Knoxville, Tenn. to take on No. 5 Tennessee. The Volunteers are 8-1, having just suffered their first loss of 2022 last Saturday against No. 1 Georgia. The Vols will be back on their home turf in Neyland Stadium, though, so Mizzou is going to be in for a full-force battle in Week 11. 

Tennessee boasts possibly the nation's best offense, and the Tigers' talented defense will have its hands full defending the Vols. They're averaging over 45 points per game (45.3), and that could be a problem for low-scoring Missouri. 

If head coach Eli Drinkwitz and Mizzou are going to stand a chance in this one, these are the Vols that they'll have to contain.

QB Hendon Hooker

2022 Stats: 2,533 yards/21 TDs/ 2 INT, 355 rush yards/4 TDs

Hooker is the face of this Tennessee team and he's the orchestrator of their high-octane offense. With 21 touchdowns and only two interceptions, it's safe to say that slowing him down is no easy task. Missouri does have one of the better pass defenses in the country, though, so they may not be up the creek just yet.

The fifth-year quarterback can do damage with his legs, but he's more of a threat when throwing the ball deep. He scrambles just enough to keep defenses honest and makes big plays when things break down. Hooker's a Heisman favorite and it's likely that he'll put some points on the board, the key will be to limit his time with the ball in possession. For the Tigers, they'll need to get to him in the backfield and bring him down on the first try when they do.

WR Jalin Hyatt 

2022 Stats: 51 rec/970 yards/14 TDs

The junior wideout has been an absolute scoring machine in 2022. Hyatt's got multiple touchdowns in five games already this season. In fact, until his scoreless outing at Georgia, he'd pulled in two or more touchdown catches in each of the last four consecutive contests. That streak included an explosive five-touchdown masterclass to beat Alabama, and it could be argued that Hyatt's performance was directly responsible for the subsequent tearing down of Tennessee's field goal post.

Tigers defensive backs Ennis Rakestraw and Kris-Abrams Draine will have to know where Hyatt is at all times. The Vols' route runner is especially dangerous going deep, so it'll be imperative for Missouri to keep a lid on things over the top. 

RB Jabari Small

2022 Stats: 113 car/483 yards/ 8 TDs, 11 rec/93 yards/2 TDs

Small has scored more touchdowns than any other Volunteer except for Hyatt this season. With eight scores on the ground and a pair through the air, Small can hurt defenses in a multitude of ways. His ability to run through gaps has given this Tennessee offense some much-needed balance, and the Vols' ball carrier capitalizes when opponents fall asleep on the run game.

Tennessee actually has two very capable ball carriers manning the backfield. Small, and fellow running back Jaylen Wright both have exactly 113 carries on the season. While Small leads in scores, Wright has more yards (547) and respectable six rushing touchdowns on the season. The Tigers will need to extinguish this duo's running effectiveness so they can focus on slowing down Hooker and Hyatt. 

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