This week’s match-up puts the Vols against one of their most storied rivals, the University of Kentucky Wildcats.
The Cats are coming into Knoxville on the cusp of bowl eligibility, with a 5-5 record. They are searching for at least one more win to put them in a bowl game for the first time since 2010—the same year the Vols made their last bowl appearance.
This Tennessee team is entering the game with a 4-6 record, needing to win two of their three last games to qualify for a bowl game. Coming off of an open week, the Vols hope to carry their newfound offensive spark into this week’s game and come out with a win putting them one game closer to their goal.
Some points of emphasis against one of the better Kentucky teams we’ve seen in years will be poised quarterback play, defensive strength and overall consistency.
The story of the season has been the emergence of quarterback Josh Dobbs in recent weeks, and his importance will definitely translate into this Saturday’s game. Dobbs not only needs to involve his receivers for big gains but also must be active on the ground by handing it off and running it himself. He has brought the Tennessee offense to life by his dual threat capabilities.
Defensive strength will also play a large role in the outcome of this game. This year’s Kentucky team has an offense that has shown their abilities to march down the field and score in hostile environments. On this side of the ball, the defense must be disruptive and force errors on the offense’s part.
Finally, consistency is key. In this Monday’s press conference, Coach Butch Jones said that Dobbs still needed to improve his consistency in practice, even after his performance in a huge overtime win at South Carolina.
Defensively, the Vols have to be consistent in getting off the line and causing disruption, not only up front, but also in the secondary. This Tennessee team, as a whole, needs to show consistency in play.
From special teams to offense and defense, the Vols must follow the game plan and steer away from committing any penalties that may make the game closer than it has to be.
Edited by Maggie Jones