Dobbs has huge home finale as Vols beat Missouri 63-37
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs made his final home game one to remember.
Not even having his team knocked out of the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division race could ruin his day.
Dobbs threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more scores — including a career-long 70-yarder — as Tennessee won a 63-37 shootout with Missouri on Saturday.
“I definitely had a blast,” Dobbs said. “It’s not really an end. We obviously still have a couple of games left, but it’s an enjoyable opportunity and I definitely enjoyed it tonight.”
Tennessee’s hopes of reaching the SEC championship game vanished when No. 21 Florida upset No. 16 LSU 16-10 earlier Saturday to clinch its second straight SEC East title.
“There’s still a lot to play for,” Dobbs said. “Our legacy’s on the line, how we want to leave Tennessee.”
Dobbs was 15 of 22 for 223 yards Saturday with two touchdown passes to Jauan Jennings and one to Josh Malone. He rushed for a career-high 190 yards on just 10 carries. He even helped lead Tennessee’s Pride of the Southland band after the game.
It was an impressive farewell to Neyland Stadium for a guy who has served as the face of Tennessee’s program while balancing his quarterback responsibilities with his academic demands as an aerospace engineering major.
“I’m not very political, but he could be the president of the United States if he wanted to,” Tennessee coach Butch Jones said.
The Vols (8-3, 4-3 SEC) won despite allowing 740 yards in total offense, the highest single-game total ever by a Tennessee opponent. Troy gained 721 yards in a 55-48 loss to Tennessee in 2012.
Damarea Crockett rushed for 225 yards and Ish Witter gained 163 yards to lead a 420-yard rushing attack for Missouri (3-8, 1-6). The Tigers gained 600-plus total yards for the fourth time this season.
“Offensively that’s a pretty good day,” Missouri coach Barry Odom said. “I didn’t have enough answers defensively to put us there to win it.”
Crockett had the second-highest single-game rushing total ever by a Tennessee opponent. Mississippi’s Dexter McCluster rushed for 282 yards against Tennessee in 2009.
Tennessee’s John Kelly rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown. Alvin Kamara ran for 55 yards and two scores.
The Vols were clinging to a 35-30 lead when Dobbs made a move around Missouri’s Thomas Wilson at the line of scrimmage and raced for a 70-yard touchdown with 13:20 remaining.
Tennessee took command from there.
Missouri: The Tigers’ season-long kicking woes hurt them again Saturday.
Missouri missed an extra-point attempt for the sixth time this season at the end of the Tigers’ first series. Missouri also had gone 5 of 12 on field-goal attempts this season before Saturday.
The Tigers’ kicking game has struggled so much that they decided to go for it rather than attempting a field goal while facing fourth-and-12 from the Tennessee 20 early in the second quarter. After Missouri was penalized for a false start, the Tigers still kept their offense on the field to try converting the first down on fourth-and-17 from the 25. The drive ended with an incomplete pass.
Tennessee: The Vols’ defense remains extremely vulnerable, particularly against the run. Missouri put up huge numbers against Tennessee one week after the Vols allowed 443 yards rushing in a 49-36 victory over Kentucky. Tennessee also gave up 353 yards rushing to Texas A&M and 409 to Alabama this season.
This win could help Tennessee get back into the Top 25. The Vols, who have been ranked as high as ninth this year, fell out of the rankings after an Oct. 29 loss at South Carolina. Tennessee was fourth in the “also receiving votes” section of the AP poll this week but was 19th in the College Football Playoff rankings.
Tennessee has won three straight games and has scored over 40 points in all of them. This marks the first time since 1995 that the Volunteers have scored 40-plus points in three consecutive games. ... Crockett now has rushed for 1,062 yards this season, the most ever by a Missouri freshman.
Missouri hosts Arkansas on Friday.
Tennessee is at Vanderbilt on Saturday.
More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
Follow Steve Megargee at www.twitter.com/stevemegargee