May 21, 2024

Battle at Bristol by the numbers

It’s time to break down some of the numbers that are involved in what many expect to be college football’s biggest game ever.

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 01, 2016 - Tennessee Volunteers Head Coach Butch Jones during the game between the Appalachian State Mountaineers and the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Ruth Dudley/Tennessee Athletics

Since it was first announced back in 2013, the Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol has been the talk of college football. The largest football game ever in the “Last Greatest Colosseum” has the makings of becoming one of the most legendary games in college football history.

Why not look at some of the most interesting numbers surrounding the game?

150,000: Over 150,000 people are expected to fill Bristol Motor Speedway as the Tennessee Volunteers take on the Virginia Tech Hokies in the biggest college football game of all time.

700 tons: Bristol Motor Speedway is now the home to Colossus, the world’s largest outdoor, center-hung video display. The display weighs a whopping 700 tons. Just to put that weight into perspective, it would take combining the Vols and Hokies teams 25 times to come close to matching the weight of Colossus, which makes its name pretty evident.

120: Including the upcoming game, the Vols-Hokies match-up has spanned across 120 years. Since the first meeting between the two in 1896, the Vols lead the series 5-3. The last time Tennessee faced Virginia Tech was in the 2009 Peach Bowl, where the Hokies took the win, 37-14, over a Tennessee squad coached by Lane Kiffin. In the Vols wins, Tennessee has outscored the Hokies 123-27, with three back-to-back shutout wins.

7: Virginia Tech has gone seven years since its last win over an SEC school. The last SEC team they defeated was the Tennessee squad from the Peach Bowl in 2009. Since that win over Tennessee, the Hokies have lost their only other SEC matchup, losing to Alabama in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in 2013, 35-10. Since 1933, the Hokies are 17-35-1 against SEC school teams.

28: Frank Beamer retired at the end of the 2015 season after being at the helm of the Hokies for 28 seasons. Insert new head coach Justin Fuente, who is entering his 15th season as a coach. Before joining the Hokies coaching roster, Fuente spent time at Illinois State and TCU before his most recent position as the head coach at Memphis. Prior to his head coaching positions at Memphis and Tech, Fuente worked heavily on offenses as coordinator and coached running backs and quarterbacks, including two currently hot names in the NFL — Andy Dalton and Paxton Lynch. In the Hokies’ first game against Liberty this past Saturday, the Hokies put up 458 total yards, 252 of those yards coming from the passing game. Needless to say, the Vols’ defense may have a long night if they don’t find a way to stop the Hokies’ passing game.

4,978: Tennessee and Virginia Tech combined for 4,978 rushing yards in 2015. Tennessee ran for 2,908 yards while Virginia Tech ran for just over 2,000 yards. Needless to say, the Vols relied heavily on the rushing tandem of Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara last season. In week one, the Hokies looked to 10 different men to run the ball against Liberty while the Vols had rushes from just Josh Dobbs, Hurd, and Kamara.

7: The Volunteers are currently on a seven-game win streak. After finishing 2015 strong with six wins, including a win in the Outback Bowl against Northwestern on New Years Day, the Vols narrowly escaped Appalachian State in overtime to start off the 2016 campaign. the Vols have outscored opponents 240-100 during the win streak. This is Tennessee’s longest winning streak since taking six-straight to close out the 2003 regular season.

0: One of these teams will keep a zero in the loss column after Saturday night. Most of the pressure is on Tennessee, who could potentially fall out of the AP Top 25 with a loss. Virginia Tech is looking for Justin Fuente’s signature win in just the second game of his tenure in Blacksburg.

The Battle at Bristol will kickoff on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Edited by Nathan Odom

Featured image by Ruth Dudley, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

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Danielle is a senior studying Journalism and Electronic Media. Before coming to UT, she was a student intern for 106.3 ESPN Radio where she assisted in the broadcasts and productions of Pigeon Forge High School football and basketball. She is also a former sports correspondent for The Mountain Press and worked as a promotions assistant for the Tennessee Smokies. If she's not busy with the Triple Play podcast or writing sports stories, you'll most likely find her at St. John XXIII Catholic Center on campus or watching sports somewhere while she sips on an Arnold Palmer. Follow her on Twitter: @Dani_Marie_15