Co-written by Nathan Odom
This week on Rocky Topics, sports writer Shawn Finchum and assistant sports editor Nathan Odom debate who will win the Oklahoma-Tennessee matchup.
Finchum: Why will Tennessee win this game on Saturday night? Because Tennessee will have the most experienced quarterback on the field. Also, the Vols have so many weapons on offense, especially at the skill positions. The secondary will be much improved, enough to not allow many big plays by Oklahoma.
Odom: Finchy, I appreciate you recognizing what Tennessee has on offense. However, the Sooners have some offense too. Baker Mayfield stepped into the Sooners’ Air Raid offense and delivered an eye-opening performance against Akron. Sure, it is Akron, but nearly 400 yards passing is not something to overlook. Oh, and make sure you do not forget about Samaje Perine (he holds the all time record for rushing yards in a single game… not bad) and Joe Mixon spearheading a fierce backfield. Oklahoma beat Tennessee 34-10 last year and they have all they talent available to do it again.
Finchum: Nate, with all due respect to Akron, I believe that Tennessee’s defense will be a much bigger and tougher challenge for Oklahoma this week. Oklahoma starts a true freshman at left tackle and a sophomore at left guard. The Vols’ defense will try to expose this area of the Sooners Saturday in the trenches. I think Tennessee’s front seven will cause enough pressure on Mayfield this weekend that he will make mistakes and turn the ball over, which will to points and a win for Tennessee.
Odom: Last week, Tennessee’s defense did only a decent job of getting pressure against Bowling Green. Bowling Green. Not only that, but their secondary was torched time and time again. Oklahoma’s offensive line is younger, sure, but if Tennessee’s secondary does not improve this week, Mayfield will not need much time to throw. Tennessee did not throw a ton last week. Most of that was because they could run it down Bowling Green’s throat, but I am still not sold that Josh Dobbs can throw the ball down the field consistently. At this point, a shootout favors Oklahoma, and it looks like we might get just that on Saturday.
Featured image by Tennessee Journalist
Edited by Cody McClure