Tennessee is in “must-win” mode this Saturday against Mississippi State. The Bulldogs could also use another victory with a brutal stretch of games on the horizon.
The Vols (1-4, 0-2 SEC) host Mississippi State (3-2, 1-1 SEC) for a noon kick-off on Saturday. This weekend’s match-up will be the first time these two teams have met in football since 2012, and it’ll be the first time the two teams have played in Knoxville since 2008. All-time, the Vols are 28-16-1, but Mississippi State won the last meeting in 2012 by a score of 41-31 in Derek Dooley’s final year as UT’s head coach.
This season, Tennessee is in desperation mode and need a win if they want to have any hope of salvaging this season. For Mississippi State, Saturday’s game against the Vols will be their most winnable game for the next couple weeks, and it’s the last game before a gauntlet of games. After Tennessee, the Bulldogs host No. 5 LSU, travel to No. 24 Texas A&M, travel to Arkansas, then host No. 1 Alabama.
Any way you slice it, Saturday is an important game for both schools.
The Vols will be turning to true freshman Brian Maurer at quarterback again. In his first career start against No. 3 Georgia last weekend, Maurer flashed some potential on his way to 259 passing yards, two touchdowns, an interception, and a fumble.
As for Mississippi State, they may play two quarterbacks. Penn State grad transfer Tommy Stevens could be healthy enough to play, but even if he does, freshman Garrett Shrader will still likely get some snaps. If Stevens can’t go or gets hurt during the game, Shrader is more than capable of leading the offense, as he’s made two starts and has played extensively in a couple other games.
The Bulldogs enter Saturday’s game as slight road favorites, but Tennessee will likely pull out all the stops to try and get the upset and their first SEC win of the season.
If you can’t make it to the game, here’s how you can watch or listen to the Vols’ match-up with the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Kickoff: Noon Eastern, October 12th, Neyland Stadium (Knoxville, TN)
TV: SEC Network (Taylor Zarzour, Matt Stinchcomb, Alyssa Lang)
Streaming Online: ESPN.com/Watch, ESPN app
Radio: Vol Network, Sirius 34, XM 191
Line: Mississippi State (-6.5)