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"SEC on CBS" lead play-by-play man Brad Nessler is in Columbia to call Saturday's Top-15 showdown between Mizzou and Tennessee (photo courtesy of CBS Sports media relations specialist Jeff Szklinski)

(LISTEN): Longtime CBS Sports broadcaster Brad Nessler previews Mizzou-Tennessee; expresses sadness about SEC change

“SEC on CBS” lead play-by-play man Brad Nessler is in Columbia to call Saturday’s Top-15 showdown between Mizzou and Tennessee (photo courtesy of CBS Sports media relations specialist Jeff Szklinski)

Saturday afternoon’s Top-15 matchup between Tennessee and Missouri in Columbia will be broadcast live nationally on CBS Sports. More than 62,000 fans, 62,621 to be exact, will pack Faurot Field for the game, which is a sellout.

The 13th ranked Volunteers and #14 Mizzou are both 7-2, 3-2 in the Southeastern Conference. “SEC on CBS” lead play-by-play man Brad Nessler is in Columbia to call the game. Mr. Nessler tells 939 the Eagle that both teams are in line for a New Year’s Six bowl game.

“A lot more on the line for Tennessee if they could run the table they’d be looking at getting to Atlanta (in the December SEC championship game) for the East. Missouri doesn’t have that luxury, although their season has been so good already that if they beat Tennessee they’ll probably be favored in their last two games against Florida and Arkansas,” Nessler says.

Mr. Nessler is impressed with Mizzou football coach Eli Drinkwitz’s enthusiasm and attention to detail. The Vols have explosive speed on defense, with the top-ranked rushing defense in the Southeastern Conference. They only allow 97 rushing yards a game. That could put pressure on Mizzou standout quarterback Brady Cook, who’s thrown for more than 2,400 yards this season with 16 touchdowns.

“He’s a competitor man I mean … he sticks his nose in there, he’s not afraid to run, he’s not a big slider. I just like watching guys like that play and in watching him last week it’s almost like you feel bad for him because in the end they were outmatched but they were not that outmatched by that much,” says Nessler.

While the Vols have been known as a pass-happy defense under Coach Josh Heupel, they’re focusing more on the run under offensive coordinator Joey Halzle. Nessler notes the Vols rank third nationally in rushing offense at 228 yards per game.

“This year’s team I look at more as a running team to be honest with you. (Volunteer quarterback) Joe Milton being the extra guy with his legs. (Running back) When you see what Jaylen Wright has done, Jabari Small I don’t know if he’s going to play or not but Dylan Sampson will. You know they’re the top rushing team in the SEC,” Nessler says.

Brad Nessler worked at ESPN for 24 years before returning to CBS. He was named to lead college football play-by-play man for the popular “SEC on CBS” in 2016, starting with the 2017 season. Brad’s color commentator is former Purdue star and Detroit Lions quarterback Gary Danielson and their sideline reporter is Jenny Dell. Tomorrow afternoon’s showdown between Tennessee and the Missouri Tigers is one of final SEC games that CBS Sports will be doing. The SEC’s television deal with CBS expires at the end of the season, and the new deal is with ABC/ESPN.

Mr. Nessler tells 939 the Eagle he’s a bit sad, reflecting on the great memories he’s called over the years.

“Every place we go is the last time we’re going there. And so we get a little bit nostalgic. I do more than (color commentator) Gary (Danielson) I think I’m a little more emotional about it all. I think he holds it in, I don’t hold it in very well. So every time last week being at Alabama (at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa) that’s the last time I’m going to hear Sweet Home Alabama 15 minutes before kickoff,” says Nessler.

The Top-15 matchup between your Tigers and the Big Orange will be broadcast live nationally on the “SEC on CBS” with Nessler and Danielson, with Ms. Dell on the sidelines at Faurot. You can also hear the broadcast on the Central Bank Tiger Radio Network on Zimmer stations KTGR (FM 100.5) and KCMQ (FM 96.7) starting at 12:30 tomorrow. Kickoff is set for 2:37.

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