Game Preview: Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt

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    Tennessee (4-7) vs Vanderbilt (4-7)

    Saturday, Nov. 25th, 4:00 ET

    Neyland Stadium (102,455) • Knoxville, TN

    TV: SEC Network

    Series Record: Tennessee leads 75-31-5

     Setting the table

    For the first time since 2013, the Vols aren’t playing for anything in the last game of the regular season. Tennessee has been eliminated from bowl contention, and now they’re just trying to avoid the worst season in program history as they face Vanderbilt.

     Who has the edge

    When Tennessee throws…

    Tennessee’s passing attack this season has been lackluster at best. The Vols as a team have thrown nine touchdowns and nine interceptions and are averaging just 172.8 passing yards a game. Vanderbilt’s passing defense is the only part of their defense that is even average, and the Vols’ offensive line is still a mess. Both scholarship quarterbacks who are available also seem to be injured. EdgeSlightly to Vanderbilt 

    When Tennessee runs…

    Neither one of these teams can stop opposing offenses from running the ball. Tennessee has had a tough time running the ball in SEC play, and that’s due in large part to all the injuries on the offensive line. The Vols now have the second-worst rushing attack in the SEC with just 123.1 yards per game on the ground. But the Vols should be able to find at least a little room against a Vandy run defense giving up 211.6 yards per game. Edge: Slightly to Tennessee 

    When Vanderbilt throws…

    Kyle Shurmur turns the ball over more than you’d like as a quarterback, but he can also make some big plays. But all 10 of Shurmur’s interceptions have come against SEC opponents, and the Vols have been able to slow down most passing attacks this year (but teams have also elected to run against Tennessee rather than pass it). Vanderbilt will likely try to run the ball more than pass it, but expected Tennessee’s secondary to be tested. Edge: Slightly to Tennessee

    When Vanderbilt runs…

    Vanderbilt has the worst rushing attack in the SEC, averaging just 94.6 yards per game on the ground. But Tennessee has the worst run defense in the SEC, allowing 251.7 yards per game to opponents when they run the ball. Something has to give here, and it will probably be Tennessee’s defense. Edge: Slightly to Vanderbilt 

    On special teams…

    Vandy has only attempted seven field goals all season, and they’ve only made three of them. They also have the third-worst punting average in the conference. They’ve given up a punt return touchdown and have been largely average in returning kicks and punts themselves. The Vols’ special teams haven’t been as great this year as they have in the past few seasons, but they’re still better than Vanderbilt’s. Edge: Tennessee 

     Best-case scenario for UT 

    The Vols get back some normalcy and defeat Vanderbilt. They avoid the worst season in program history and manage to end a bad season on a slightly positive note with a victory.

     Worst-case scenario for UT

    Tennessee drops their second straight game to Vanderbilt and ends up not only with a 2-4 record against the Commodores over the last six years, but also the worst season in school history. A loss would mark the first time that Tennessee has dropped eight games in a season and the first time ever that the Vols have gone winless in SEC play.

     How we think it’ll play out

    There’s one thing about this game most people agree on: It should be an ugly match. Neither team is good. At all. But someone has to win.

    Our picks:

    Nathanael: Vanderbilt 18-13
    Will: Tennessee 28-16
    Ben: Tennessee 27-24