Vols Open as Nearly Three Touchdown Underdog to Auburn

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    Photo by Allie Suber/RTI

    All three of Tennessee’s losses this season have come by 26 points. The Vols opened the season with a 40-14 loss to West Virginia in Charlotte, lost 47-21 to Florida in Neyland Stadium, and lost their most recent game against No. 2 Georgia 38-12. And according to Las Vegas, the Vols will be big underdogs again this weekend coming off their bye week.

    According to Vegas Insider, the Vols have opened as 18-point underdogs to No. 21 Auburn for their match-up this upcoming Saturday. Tennessee will travel down to Jordan-Hare Stadium to take on the Tigers at noon Eastern on October 13th. The game will be televised on SEC Network.

    Though Tennessee has lost by more than three touchdowns to all three of the Power Five opponents they’ve played this year, Auburn hasn’t been very impressive on offense themselves this season when facing Power Five competition. The Tigers are coming off a 23-9 loss to Mississippi State on the road this weekend, and they’ve managed to score over 24 points against an FBS opponent just once this season.

    Overall this season, Auburn is averaging just 28.7 points per game. Only three other SEC teams are averaging less points per game in 2018 — the Vols are one of those teams — and the Tigers are averaging just 21.3 points per game against SEC teams. The Tigers are now 1-2 in SEC play this year after their loss to Mississippi State, and they’ve managed just seven touchdowns and five field goals in those three games. And four of their seven touchdowns scored in conference play came against Arkansas, arguably the worst team in the SEC this year.

    Tennessee’s defense hasn’t been stellar, but it’s largely been better than last year. Still, the defense is allowing 25.6 points per game overall and 42.5 points per game in SEC play.

    Auburn’s defense has been able to keep them in games and make up for the offense’s poor play, however. The Tigers are fourth in the SEC in points allowed per game (14.3), fifth in total defense (323.5 yards allowed per game), and they average the second-most tackles for loss in the conference with an 8.2 average per game.

    The Vols have lost their last six contests against Auburn dating back to a 28-21 loss in 2003. Tennessee’s last win against the Tigers came in 1999 when they won 24-0. The two programs met on an annual basis from 1956 to 1991, but since the SEC split into divisions in 1992, the two teams have met sporadically. This will only be the 10th meeting between the two schools since their 1991 match-up.

    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.