Tennessee Opponent Recap: Week 13

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    Photo Credit: Mason Burgin/RTI

    Photo Credit: Mason Burgin/RTI

    SEC Standings 

    East                                                               West

    Florida (8-3, 6-2)                                           Alabama (12-0, 8-0)

    Tennessee (8-4, 4-4)                                     Auburn (8-4, 5-3)

    Georgia (7-5, 4-4)                                          LSU (7-4, 5-3)

    Kentucky (7-5, 4-4)                                       Texas A&M (8-4, 4-4)

    South Carolina (6-6, 3-5)                            Arkansas (7-5, 3-5)

    Vanderbilt (6-6, 3-5)                                    Mississippi State (5-7, 3-5)

    Missouri (4-8, 2-6)                                       Ole Miss (5-7, 2-6)

    Florida and Alabama will play in the SEC Championship in Atlanta this Saturday. Kickoff is at 4 PM ET on CBS.

    Tennessee (8-4, 4-4 SEC) finished the 2016 regular season with a 34-45 loss to the Vanderbilt Commodores (6-6, 3-5 SEC). The Vols started the season ranked ninth in the country and end it unranked. In the meantime, Tennessee awaits a bowl game placement. Here are several projections:

    • TaxSlayer Bowl vs. North Carolina (CBS Sports)
    • Music City Bowl vs. Minnesota (College Football News)
    • Texas Bowl vs. Kansas State (College Sports Madness)

    Opponent recaps:

    Appalachian State handles New Mexico State

    The Appalachian State Mountaineers (9-3, 7-1 Sun Belt) clinched their first Sun Belt title with a 37-7 victory over New Mexico State. Quarterback Taylor Lamb threw for 220 yards and a touchdown. Lamb also added two more scores on the ground. Along with Lamb, running back Jalin Moore added another touchdown on 111 yards rushing. Last week, Marcus Cox became the all-time Appalachian State rusher and added to that record with a 140-yard performance against the Aggies. Tennessee defeated Appalachian State 20-13 on September 1st.

    Virginia Tech downs Virginia

    It’s been quite the first season for Justin Fuente as his 19th ranked Virginia Tech Hokies (9-3, 6-2 ACC) clinched the ACC Coastal division with a 52-10 victory over rival Virginia. VT quarterback Jerod Evans threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Sam Rogers ran for a career-best 105 yards and added two more scores. The Hokies will play Clemson on Saturday for the ACC Championship. Kickoff is at 8 PM ET on ABC. Tennessee defeated Virginia Tech 45-24 on September 10th at the Battle at Bristol.

    Ohio escapes Akron

    The Ohio Bobcats (8-4, 6-2 MAC) pulled out a 9-3 win over the Akron Zips to clinch the MAC Eastern division. Ohio kicker Louie Zervos received the game ball as he was the only Bobcat to score with his three field goals. Ohio will play undefeated and 21st ranked Western Michigan for the MAC title. Kickoff is at 7 PM ET on ESPN2. Tennessee defeated Ohio 28-19 on September 17th.

    Florida falls to Florida State

    No. 15 Florida (8-3, 6-2 SEC) fell 31-13 to in-state rival No. 14 Florida State (9-3, 5-3 ACC). FSU running back Dalvin Cook led the Seminole attack and rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown. The Gators struggled all night on both sides of the ball, especially on offense. Austin Appleby only managed to throw for 149 yards. Florida will play top-ranked Alabama this Saturday for the SEC Championship. Tennessee defeated Florida 38-28 on September 24th.

    Georgia slips to Georgia Tech

    Saturday was full of upsets, and Georgia (7-5, 4-4 SEC) was one of the victims. Georgia Tech rallied for a stunning 28-27 win over the Bulldogs. With 30 seconds left in the game, GT receiver Qua Searcy leaped into the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown thanks to a busted play by Georgia’s defense. Heading into the fourth quarter, Georgia was up by 13. However, Georgia Tech was able to score two touchdowns and walk out of Athens victorious. Tennessee defeated Georgia 34-31 on October 1st on a last second Hail Mary.

    LSU drills Texas A&M

    The 25th ranked LSU Tigers (7-4, 5-3 SEC) feasted on Thanksgiving Day with a 54-39 win over the 22nd ranked Texas A&M Aggies (8-4, 4-4 SEC). The Tigers were clicking on offense as running back Derrius Guice ran for a school-record 285 yards with four touchdowns. LSU quarterback Danny Etling also added two scores with 324 passing yards. Interim head coach Ed Orgeron was promoted to full-time head coach on Saturday after going 5-2 as Les Miles’ replacement. Texas A&M defeated Tennessee 45-38 on October 8th.

    Alabama rolls Auburn

    Top-ranked Alabama (12-0, 8-0 SEC) defeated the 18th ranked Auburn Tigers (8-4, 5-3 SEC) 30-12 to win the 81st Iron Bowl. Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts threw two early interceptions in a tight first half. However, Hurts bounced back with 286 passing yards and two touchdowns. Alabama defeated Tennessee 49-10 on October 15th.

    Clemson drops South Carolina

    Fourth-ranked Clemson (11-1, 7-1 ACC) dominated South Carolina (6-6, 3-5 SEC) with a 56-7 victory. Clemson quarterback and Heisman hopeful Deshaun Watson tied his career high with six touchdown passes on 347 yards. It was a tough day for freshman Gamecock quarterback Jake Bentley as he threw for just 41 yards and an interception. South Carolina defeated Tennessee 24-21 on October 29th.

    Kentucky upsets Louisville

    The biggest upset of the weekend came as the Kentucky Wildcats (7-5, 4-4 SEC) defeated 11th ranked Louisville (9-3, 7-1 ACC) 41-38 with a late field goal. UK kicker Austin MacGinnis hit a 47-yard field goal with 12 seconds remaining to give Kentucky the win. Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson attempted a last second Hail Mary but the Wildcats came up with the interception to win the Governor’s Cup. Tennessee defeated Kentucky 49-36 on November 12th.

    Missouri defeats Arkansas

    The Missouri Tigers (4-8, 2-6 SEC) finished the regular season on a high note with a 28-24 victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks (7-5, 3-5 SEC). Missouri quarterback Drew Lock threw for 268 yards and a touchdown. With Damarea Crockett suspended, the Tigers received help from an unlikely source as sophomore running back Nate Strong added two more touchdowns on the ground. Tennessee defeated Missouri 63-37 on November 19th.

    *Side Note: Five of Tennessee’s 2016 opponents have either clinched their conference or division

    • Appalachian State (Sun Belt champions)
    • Virginia Tech (ACC Coastal champions)
    • Ohio (MAC East champions)
    • Florida (SEC East champions)
    • Alabama (SEC West champions)