Tennessee QB Joe Milton commits one of the weirdest fumbles of the year in loss to Missouri

Running back Dylan Sampson accidentally forced the fumble

COLUMBIA, MO - NOVEMBER 11: Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Joe Milton III (7) throws a pass in the second quarter of an SEC football game between the Tennessee Volunteers and Missouri Tigers on Nov 11, 2023 at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton had one of the most bizarre fumbles you’ll ever see on Saturday.

As Milton went to pass the ball in the fourth quarter of the No. 13 Volunteers’ 36-7 loss to No. 14 Missouri, the ball got inadvertently knocked out of his hand by running back Dylan Sampson.

The play looked like a forward pass as the ball tumbled forward and well beyond the line of scrimmage because Milton's throwing motion batted it forward. But thanks to a heads-up play by Missouri, the Tigers ended up getting the ball.

Take a look at how this unfolded.

Because it looked like a pass, the ruling on the field was initially for an incomplete pass. Replay officials stopped the game as the next snap happened for a review and quickly determined that it should be Missouri’s ball because Milton clearly lost control before his arm started to go forward.

The fumble ended all hopes of a Tennessee comeback. The Vols were trailing 22-7 and in Missouri territory at the time, but the Tigers (8-2, 4-2 SEC) quickly drove down the field and clinched the game with a TD pass to Luther Burden III.

Missouri’s win means No. 2 Georgia clinched the SEC East before its game against No. 9 Ole Miss kicked off Saturday night. The Bulldogs will meet No. 8 Alabama in the SEC title game on Dec. 2 after the Crimson Tide beat Kentucky on Saturday.

Cody Schrader’s massive day

Missouri running back Cody Schrader had an incredible performance on Saturday. Schrader rushed 35 times for 205 yards and a TD and had five catches for 116 yards.

Schrader became just the sixth player in SEC history to have over 100 yards in each category and the first to have 200 yards rushing and 100 yards receiving as Tennessee simply couldn’t stop him. With QB Brady Cook’s 55 yards on the ground, Missouri rushed 50 times for 255 yards and Cook threw for 275 yards.

Schrader has become one of the most reliable running backs in the SEC in his second season in Columbia. The former Division II player at Truman State transferred to Missouri ahead of the 2022 season and has now rushed for 1,124 yards and 11 TDs through the first 10 games of the season.

Tennessee’s worst scoring output under Heupel

The Volunteers’ 10 points are the fewest the team has scored in Josh Heupel’s tenure. And whenever the offense was able to get yardage, a penalty seemed to ruin things or a turnover happened

Tennessee (7-3, 3-3 SEC) committed nine penalties and many of them were game-impacting fouls. Tennessee also committed three turnovers, including a pick-six by Milton on the drive after his fumble. The Vols ended up with 350 yards of offense but much of that was gained when the game was out of reach.

UT’s chances of winning the East entering Saturday hinged on wins over Missouri, Georgia and Vanderbilt over the next three weeks. Now, Tennessee is reduced to playing the role of spoiler against the Bulldogs in Week 12 as they go for a nine-win season.