Things haven’t gone so well for the Tennessee Volunteers lately. After their upset win over the Auburn Tigers, they’ve fallen in their last two contests. Granted, one was against the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide, but their loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks was a bit demoralizing. The good news for Tennessee is that they have an opportunity to bounce back this weekend, and the path to bowl eligibility is still there for the taking.
Tennessee hosts the Charlotte 49ers this weekend in Knoxville. The Conference USA reps are 4-4 on the season and 3-2 against league opponents. The last time they took the field, they defeated the Southern Miss Golden Eagles 20-17. This ended a stretch in which they lost three out of four games and four out of six. So Charlotte is aiming to get back on track.
That being said, Tennessee is still a pretty hefty favorite in this game. And as a result, should come away with a win.In order to do so, they’ll have to stop running back Benny LeMay. LeMay, a junior, is second in Conference USA in rushing yards this season behind Florida Atlantic Owls star Devin Singletary. LeMay has 745 yards on the ground and has averaged 5.3 yards per carry. Which, for what it’s worth, is higher than Singletary’s 5.0 YPC. Tennessee has faced plenty of premier rushers and they may be susceptible to damage. They’ve allowed 169.8 yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry this season.
Conversely, Tennessee will have their work cut out for them. The truth is: Charlotte has one of the best run defenses in the nation. They’ve allowed just 89.4 yards per game this season against the run. That’s better than the following teams: Michigan, Clemson, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Alabama, Auburn and LSU. Their YPC average of 3.1 is tied for 11th in the country. So the Tennessee backs will have to do their damnedest to make magic happen. Thus, the game could fall into the hands of the QB, so the Vols may have to pass, pass and pass some more to get the win. And Charlotte’s passing defense isn’t all that great, so it could turn out in their favor that way.
HOW TO WATCH
Time: 4 p.m. ET/3 p.m. CT
TV: SEC Network
Watch Online: WatchESPN
Spread: Tennessee -20.5/-21
Records ATS: Charlotte (5-3) | Tennessee (4-4)