Following an abysmal fourth–quarter collapse and a heartbreaking loss in double overtime to the Oklahoma Sooners, the Vols must regroup this week and be ready when the Catamounts of Western Carolina come to town Saturday.
In the fourth quarter against Oklahoma, Tennessee ran a total of just six offensive plays and allowed the Sooners to convert seven of eight third downs. Additionally, the Vols committed five penalties in the fourth quarter, leading to a comeback by the Sooners.
Regardless of the opponent this week, Tennessee could be in trouble with another fourth quarter performance like the one against Oklahoma. With a trip to ‘The Swamp’ to face Florida coming up Sept. 26, the Vols must rebound quickly from this epic collapse. That’s where Western Carolina comes in.
The Catamounts (1–1) are an FCS-level program, a member of the Southern Conference and just what the Vols need to regain some steam before heading to Gainesville.
Western Carolina is coming off a loss to The Citadel, 28-10, in their first conference game of the season. Tennessee will likely be their most difficult opponent before a Nov. 14 trip to College Station to face Texas A&M.
While the Catamounts have a balanced offense with some weapons in both the running and passing game, the Vols will will be heavily favored. For Tennessee, this game is about much more than beating a lower-tier Western Carolina team. It’s more about getting their cards in order for a difficult slate of upcoming games.
Head coach Butch Jones will use the Western Carolina week to try to get his players healthy, both physically and mentally. Jones has a lot of work to do following what happened under the lights at Neyland Stadium on Saturday night.
The Vols better enjoy their cupcake this week, because a visit to ‘The Swamp’ won’t be nearly as sweet.
Edited by Cody McClure