A week after becoming bowl-eligible with their 24-20 victory over Missouri, the surging Tennessee Volunteers (6-5, 4-3 SEC) will face in-state rival Vanderbilt (3-8, 1-6 SEC) in Neyland Stadium on Saturday.
Tennessee has won four straight, three of which were against SEC opponents, since losing to Alabama in October.
Last week the Vols were able to leave Missouri with a close win following a game that was ugly, despite being a statistically impressive for Tennessee.
Taking all but one snap, Jarrett Guarantano went 23 of 40 for 415 yards and two scores.
On the receiving end of those passes were Josh Palmer, Jauan Jennings, and Marquez Callaway. The three veteran recievers each went for over 100 yards, and Jennings and Callaway caught touchdown passes.
Though Missouri’s front seven was stout at points against the run, Tennessee was able to rush for 111 yards and a score on the ground.
Tennessee’s defense struggled at times, forcing no turnovers while allowing Missouri to put up 280 combined yards.
The Vanderbilt Commodores are coming off a dominant 38-0 win over East Tennessee State, though they fell to Kentucky 38-14 in their previous game.
While they threw for 198 yards and ran for another 220 yards against ETSU, the Commodores failed to reach the 200-yard mark against Kentucky.
They do not create many turnovers on offense, but the Commodores are also fairly stingy when it comes to giving up turnovers of their own. Vanderbilt gave up just one turnover against Kentucky and didn’t give up any to ETSU.
However, Vanderbilt has struggled on defense recently. They gave up just 105 yards to ETSU, but the Commodores allowed 528 total yards against Kentucky.
Tennessee is projected to come out on top in this rivalry matchup, and according to pregame.com it will not be close. The Vols are favored by 21 points on Saturday.
The Vols will likely come out with all they have, as this game has huge bowl-game implications in addition to being a rivalry game, but no one expects Vanderbilt to lay down in the face of this challenge.
Christian Knox, sports editor – Tennessee 31, Vanderbilt 13
Vanderbilt will play better than expected in this fierce in-state rivalry game, but the Commodores wll be no match for a Tennessee team that has recently rounded into form. The home team will pick up plenty of first downs, and the Vols will connect on deep shots when Vanderbilt adjusts to cover the short game. This could easily become a blowout, as Tennessee may not take their foot off the gas if they go up against their SEC rival.
Dusty Bryan, assistant sports editor – Tennessee 45, Vanderbilt 10
Tennessee comes into senior day riding a four-game win streak. That win streak should be extended to five when Vanderbilt comes to Neyland Stadium. This one shouldn’t be close because the Vols are firing on all cylinders on both sides of the ball. Tennessee’s seniors will go out on a strong note and the Vols will cruise to an easy win over the in-state Commodores.
Game Time and Coverage
Kickoff in Knoxville is slated for 4 p.m. EST. The game will air on the SEC Network, and TNJN will have more coverage following the game.
Edited by Ben Gleason
Featured image by Christian Knox