Tennessee is playing the best football they’ve played all season, but they have a true test of their focus and resolve on Saturday night for Homecoming.
The Vols (3-5, 2-3 SEC) play host to the UAB Blazers (6-1, 3-1 CUSA) on Saturday night. The Blazers will be Tennessee’s Homecoming opponent, marking the 96th Homecoming game in UT history. The Vols are 73-19-3 all-time on Homecoming, and they’ve won five-straight Homecoming games.
But this won’t be some pushover playing against the Vols inside Neyland Stadium.
The Blazers have won all but one of the seven games they’ve played this season, and they have one of the best statistical defenses in the entire country. UAB is in the top 15 in the whole FBS in scoring defense, total defense, passing defense, rushing defense, and third down defense.
All those stats have been compiled against one of the easiest schedules in the nation, however.
UAB has faced just one team with a winning record all season, and they lost to them, falling 20-13 to Western Kentucky (who is 5-3 now). The Blazers’ other six opponents — all wins for UAB — have a combined record of 8-38 on the season.
Regardless, UAB has a good team, and they’ve historically given the Vols fits.
Tennessee is 4-0 all-time against the Blazers, but two of those four contests have been decided by a single score. The last time these two teams played in 2010, the Vols needed two overtime periods to emerge victorious with a 32-29 win. The Vols won 35-3 in 2008 and 37-13 in 1998, but UAB put a scare into the Vols in 2005, as UT only won by a touchdown, 17-10.
This year’s UAB team hasn’t allowed more than 20 points in a single game all season. The Vols, however, have seemingly found a rhythm after starting out the season with an abysmal showing.
After starting 1-4 on the year, Tennessee has won two of their last three games with both wins coming against SEC opponents. Their last victory — a 41-21 win over South Carolina — marked the most points the Vols had put up against an SEC foe since 2016.
After scoring 17 total points in their first two SEC games this season, the Vols are averaging 24.7 points a game in their last three contests, and three of their past four games have resulted in their best offensive performances against Power Five opponents this season in terms of yards per play.
If you can’t make it to the game, here’s how you can watch or listen to the Vols’ match-up with the UAB Blazers.
Kickoff: 7:00 Eastern, November 2nd, Neyland Stadium (Knoxville, TN)
TV: ESPNU (Roy Philpott, Kelly Stouffer, and Lauren Sisler)
Streaming Online: ESPN.com/Watch, ESPN app
Radio: Vol Network, Sirius 98, XM 191
Line: Tennessee (-13)