TENNESSEE VS. UTEP
Time: Noon ET/11 a.m. CT
TV: SEC Network
Commentators: Dave Neal, DJ Shockley, Dawn Davenport
Watch Online: WatchESPN
The Tennessee Volunteers picked up their first win of the Jeremy Pruitt Era last week. The Vols kicked the ETSU Buccaneers outta town with a 59-3 rout. The competition level rises a little bit this week as the UTEP Miners are heading to Knoxville.
UTEP thus far sits behind the eight ball at 0-2. Dana Dimel’s bunch hasn’t been all that impressive, as they’ve scored merely 34 points and allowed a rough 82. Their defense, especially against the run, is among the worst in the nation. Ironically, it’s on the ground where they’ve most succeeded on offense. Kai Locksley and Quadraiz Wadley have combined to post 308 total rushing yards this season.
Locksley also happens to be UTEP’s QB. He’s looked a little skittish this season under center. He’s thrown just 3.9 yards per attempt and his adjusted yards per attempt is an even lower 2.9. Locksley’s also completed only just 42.2 percent of the 45 throws he’s made. Given that he’ll be facing a Jeremy Pruitt defense on Saturday, he could be in for another long day.
Saturday could be a big day for Tim Jordan again. Jordan, the team’s leading rusher, fell off a little after his 20-118-1 day against the West Virginia Mountaineers. He only had 65 yards on 15 carries last week against ETSU, but he’ll have ample opportunity to slice and dice this week.
Jarrett Guarantano still figures to be the man under center for the Vols. We’ll see if he still likes Marquez Callaway as his leading target. Callaway has a team-high 163 yards on 12 catches this season, and is coming off a 78-yard day against ETSU. He’s yet to find the end zone this season, but we’ll see if his fortune changes on Saturday and if he can hit paydirt.
This will be the last nonconference game of the year for Tennessee before they begin league play. As such, the goals should be to hit over .500 and escape without any serious injuries. UTEP represents an opportunity to do both, so we’ll see if they can pull it off.