Today the Volunteers will have a very tough test on the road in Oxford against No. 3 Ole Miss.
Ole Miss, coming off of arguably the biggest win in school history, the upset of No. 1Alabama, will look to terrorize Tennessee defensively. Their defense leads the SEC and is the second ranked defense in the nation in points allowed, giving up just 11.8 points per game. They are led by defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche, who will look to wreak havoc on an inexperienced Volunteer offensive line that has given up 23 sacks already this season.
For Tennessee to have a chance at an upset win, they will need to do four things:
1. Hold Ole Miss’s electrifying offense under their season average of 35.7 points per game. Tennessee’s defense will have to put pressure on Bo Wallace, who is having an excellent season with 1,700 yards passing and 15 touchdowns. Cam Sutton will have the tough task of shutting down the Rebel’s best receiver, Laquon Treadwell, who has 415 yards and four touchdowns on the season.
2. Protect Justin Worley and allow him to manage the game. The Vol’s offensive line will have to overachieve and play its best game of the season, otherwise Worley be having nightmares about Robert Nkemdiche. Last week the Vols allowed five sacks to FCS school UT Chattanooga on homecoming, and the Mocs defense is nothing compared to Ole Miss.
3. Win the fourth quarter. The Rebels have been absolutely on fire when it matters most, outscoring opponents 72-25 in the fourth quarter this season. On the other hand, the Vols have been outscored 39-52 by opposing teams in the fourth quarter this season. If the Vols fail to up their game in the fourth quarter against Ole Miss, they won’t stand a chance.
4. Have an effective ground attack. For the Vols to keep some of the pressure off of Worley, they will need to establish and maintain an efficient ground game against Ole Miss. Against UT Chattanooga last week, the Big Orange run game struggled with top tailback Jalen Hurd only seeing two carries and second string tailback Marlon Lane sitting the game out. Hurd, a true freshman, is leading the Volunteers in rushing with 374 yards and 4.5 yards a carry. For Tennessee to stand a chance, he will need to have the same type of performance he had against Georgia, where he rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown.
Edited by Maggie Jones