Fifteen fun facts for Vols season opener against Bowling Green

Tennessee opens the football season with the Bowling Green Falcons Saturday in Nashville. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. ET on the SEC Network. Here are 15 tidbits leading into the game:

  • Tennessee comes into the game at No. 25 in the AP poll. This marks the first time since 2008 the Vols have been ranked in the preseason.
  • Bowling Green has won the MAC’s eastern division two years in a row and is picked to do so again in 2015.
  • The Falcons scored a win over a Power Five team last year when they defeated Indiana, 45-42, in week three.
  • The Vols played a school-record 21 true freshmen in last year’s opener vs. Utah State. Head coach Butch Jones said Monday that UT could play up to 22 vs. Bowling Green.
  • The Falcons had 55 scoring drives in under three minutes in 2014.
  • UT has never lost to a current MAC school. Jones is 23-4 all-time against MAC schools.
  • Tennessee hasn’t opened the season in Nashville since obliterating Wyoming 47-7 in the capital in 2002.
  • Bowling Green’s offense averaged nearly 433 yards per game last season. They return all 11 starters from that unit.
  • Several key contributors on Tennessee’s roster hail from the Nashville area, including running back Jalen Hurd and defensive end Derek Barnett.
  • The Falcons are 4-7 all-time vs. the SEC. They have never played Tennessee.
  • Tennessee is currently favored by 21 points (Via 5Dimes).
  • Bowling Green running back Travis Greene is on the Doak Walker Award watch list this season after rushing for 949 yards and 12 touchdowns a year ago.
  • Green’s offensive line is one of the most experienced in college football with 125 combined starts, good for No. 2 in the country behind UCLA.
  • The Vols have not lost to a team from the state of Ohio since falling to Cincinnati, 35-0, in 1904.
  • Siri is still pulling for the Vols. When asked who her favorite college football team is, she replies, “I always like to root for the underdog. I guess that makes me a fan of Tennessee right now.”

Photo by Ben Ozburn

Edited by Jordan Dajani

Freshman defensive lineman arrested for public intoxication, underage drinking

UT freshman defensive lineman Andrew Butcher was arrested Sunday on charges of public intoxication. According to court documents, Butcher was “running around” on Interstate 40 near James White Parkway when officers spotted him. Butcher is also charged with underage possession of alcohol and controlled access roadway violations.

More updates as this story develops on tnjn.com.

Photo by Ryan McGill

Edited by Cody McClure

Vols look to seal the deal against struggling Kentucky

Coming off a bye week and the biggest win of the season on the road at South Carolina, Josh Dobbs and the Vols will look to keep the magic going against a Kentucky team that is trending downward.

While Kentucky got off to an impressive 5-1 start, they have dropped four straight to fall to 5-5. They had an easy opening schedule against teams such Ohio and UL Monroe, but have faltered as they hit the tough part of their schedule, something Tennessee fans should be all too familiar with over the past few seasons.

Dobbs, the sophomore sensation who has thrown for 493 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for another 241 yards and three touchdowns in just two games, will look to keep his blazing hot start to his year going versus a Kentucky defense that has given up almost 2000 yards on the ground.

A.J. Johnson, a 2014 Butkus Award semifinalist, will look to shut down and stop a Kentucky offense that has been explosive at times this season. Kentucky’s sophomore quarterback Patrick Towles has 14 touchdowns and only six interceptions on the season, while rushing for another five scores. Kentucky uses a backfield-by-committee approach and has rushed for over 1,500 yards and 18 touchdowns as a team.

A win here for Tennessee would significantly help the chances of a bowl game, as the Volunteers would only have to win one out of their last two games to become bowl eligible. Vanderbilt, who is winless in SEC play and only beat FCS Charleston Southern by one point, is practically a guaranteed win baring a spectacular catastrophe on the part of UT.

A loss for Kentucky would send them spiraling further down, as they would be 5-6 and would have a tough time getting bowl eligible against a good 7-3 Louisville team.

Edited by Will Lomas

Dynamic Kentucky rushing to challenge Johnson

A.J. Johnson has already proved he is one of the best linebackers in the country with his outstanding play this season, and the senior standout will have to keep up the same level of play against a Kentucky team that has rushed for 1,595 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns this season.

The Butkus semifinalist has 96 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and an interception on the season. He is averaging a whopping 10.7 tackles again, and will likely have to keep up that level of production in order to shut down a talented Kentucky offense.

The Wildcats utilize a backfield-by-committee approach that averages 159.5 rushing yards per game. They have a three headed monster of a running attack that features leading freshman rusher Stanley Williams, who has 361 yards and four total touchdowns, junior Braylon Heard, who has 335 yards and four touchdowns, and sophomore Jojo Kemp, who has 313 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns. Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles could also be involved in the rushing attack today, as he has rushed for 266 yards and five touchdowns on the season.

Jojo Kemp, a speedy sophomore running-back from Florida, can be a huge threat when he lines up at quarterback in the wildcat. Earlier this season, he burned South Carolina for 131 yards and three touchdowns on only 17 carries, with most of his carries coming out of the wildcat. He is also a threat to pass out of the wildcat, although his only pass attempt this season was intercepted.

For Tennessee to have success today, A.J. Johnson and the Vols defense will have to dismantle Kentucky’s ground game and force Kentucky into 3rd and long situations. If A.J. Johnson can play sideline to sideline like he has all season, the Vols defense will be able to make Kentucky’s offense one-dimensional and heap much more pressure onto their quarterback.

Edited by Will Lomas