By: Justin Hawkins
The Tennessee Volunteers claim victorious over the Kentucky Wildcats 33-27 and earned their third consecutive bowl berth. Now, it’s Homecoming week for the Vols who will host the UCONN Huskies for a Saturday matinee kickoff at Neyland Stadium.
Last Time Out
The Tennessee Volunteers traveled up to Lexington, KY for a SEC East rival matchup with the Kentucky Wildcats and headed back home with a 33-27 win to secure their third consecutive bowl berth. The Vols did their best to put the Wildcats away early with a 10 point 20-10 lead in the second quarter, but Kentucky would not go away until the end and that 10-point lead would be the largest margin of separation the rest of the game.
The Tennessee offense accumulated 481 total yards with Joe Milton having 227 of those yards on 17-of-20 passing and one touchdown. The rushing attack came back alive as they rushed for 253 yards and found the end zone twice. The Vols rushing attack was led by Jaylen Wright, 11 carries for 120 yards and a touchdown , and Dylan Sampson, 17 carries for 75 yards and a touchdown.
The Vols offense was very efficient as they had to punt just twice in the game. The red zone was the main area of concern as the Vols entered the territory three times and had just one touchdown. Vols kicker Charles Campbell had himself a busy night and tied a career high four field goals made.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Vols were stout when they needed to be but allowed the Kentucky offense to 444 total yards. The Vols accumulated just one sack, Omarr Norman-Lott, and was able to stuff Kentucky on two fourth down tries. Tennessee could not create much pressure in the passing game, but played run stuffer in the Kentucky run game allowing just 72 yards rushing.
The UCONN Huskies lost their second straight game as they lost to Boston College in Chestnut Hill in a close 21-14 outing. UCONN scored first and scored last, but it was all BC in between.
Connecticut was out-gained 433 to 222 yards of total offense. The biggest difference was the run game where Boston College gained 246 yards to UCONN’s 92 yards. BC’s Key Robichaux carried the ball 23 times for 112 yards and two touchdowns.
Husky quarterback Ta’Quan Roberson threw for 130 yards on 11/24 passing and their running back, Camryn Edwards, rushed for 89 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Defensive lineman Jelani Stafford got the Huskies on the board first with a one yard carry to give the Huskies the lead.
UCONN won the turnover battle, but could not stop the run on defense and could not move the football on offense. The Huskies forced a fumble and interception by BC quarterback Thomas Castellanos in the first half. The Husky offense punted four times, had a turnover on downs in the second quarter, and missed a late field goal in the fourth quarter.
The Tennessee Volunteers (6-2) meet the struggling UCONN Huskies (1-7) for the first time ever in a matinee kickoff for the Vols Homecoming Week.
The Huskies come to Knoxville, TN with just one win under their belt in their 2023 campaign coming on October 7th to Rice.
The Huskies are led by quarterback Ta’Quan Roberson, 115-199 for 1,275 yards passing with eight touchdowns and three interceptions, running back Victor Rosa, 405 yards with two touchdowns, and wide receiver Cameron Ross, 338 yards and one touchdown.
The Huskies have allowed 404.5 yards a game to opposing offenses including 167.3 rushing yards per game. The Vols rank 7th in the country at rushing the football, who average 221.8 rush yards a game, and will look to use its strength Saturday once again.
The Vols defense has been stout this season as they rank 3rd in the SEC in rushing defense (105.1), sacks per game (3.62), and tackles for loss per game (7.6). They are allowing 20.38 points per game which rank 30th in the nation and 4th in the SEC.
UCONN Huskies @ #17 Tennessee Volunteers
Time: November 4 @ 11:00 AM CT
Location: Neyland Stadium (Knoxville, TN)
TV Broadcast: SEC Network
TV Broadcast Crew: Dave Neal, Derek Mason, Alex Chappell
Radio Broadcast: Vol Network (104-5 The Zone)
Radio Broadcast Crew: Bob Kesling, Pat Ryan
Line: TENN -35.5
Things To Watch
Pat Summit To Be Honored
This Saturday, Tennessee will honor the legacy of the late legendary coach Pat Summitt with a special commemorative cup available for purchase at concessions stands benefitting Alzheimer’s research. November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, and a $1 of every Summitt cup sold throughout Neyland Stadium on Saturday will go directly to support Alzheimer’s research at The University of Tennessee Medical Center.
Rush To Success
The Tennessee Volunteers rushing attack is ranked 7th in the nation and 1st in the SEC with 221.8 yards per game. The trio of Jaylen Wright, Dylan Sampson, and Jabari Small has been detrimental to opposing defenses this season. The key to success starts and ends with the Vols run game. That is the area of focus this Saturday to beat the UCONN Huskies who are allowing 167.3 yards rushing per game.
Milton’s Chemistry Continuation With Receivers
The last couple weeks, Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton and his receivers have slowly begun to find a rhythm and be more efficient despite couple of bad drops in the Alabama game two weeks ago. Dont’e Thornton had his best game last week with 3 catches for 63 yards. The Vols need more chemistry between Milton and his receivers of Squirrel White, Ramel Keyton, and Dont’e Thornton if they want to close out the season the best way possible with three straight SEC East opponents in Missouri, Georgia, and Vanderbilt.