Last Year’s Record: 7-6 (5-4)
Conference: Big 12
Head Coach: Dana Holgorsen, 8th year (53-37 overall)
Location: Morgantown, WV
Leading Returning Passer: Will Grier — 250-of-388 passing, 3,490 yards, 34 TDs, 12 INTs
Leading Returning Rusher: Kennedy McKoy — 125 carries, 596 yards (4.77 avg), 7 TD
Leading Returning Receiver: Gary Jennings Jr. — 97 catches, 1,096 yards, TD
Leading Returning Tackler: David Long Jr. — 75 tackles, 15.5 TFLs, 3.5 sacks, 6 PDs, FR
Tennessee starts off the Jeremy Pruitt era with arguably the toughest first game any Vol head coach has ever faced. The No. 17 West Virginia Mountaineers will take on the Vols in Charlotte to start the 2018 season, and this game presents a ton of interesting match-ups.
The Vols’ young secondary will go up against one of the most potent passing attacks in college football while West Virginia’s unproven yet retooled defense will have to face Tennessee’s renewed effort in the run game. Who will be Tennessee’s starting quarterback, and how will he respond in this game? Can the Vols slow down Heisman hopeful Will Grier at quarterback?
West Virginia returns a lot of experience and talent on offense, but their defense looks very different from last year. The Vols also look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, but the Mountaineers have more stability overall. Dana Holgorsen is entering his eighth year as West Virginia’s head coach, and expectations are higher than they’ve been since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12 over half a decade ago.
Here is our complete breakdown of West Virginia’s offense and defense heading into their match-up with Tennessee on Saturday.