Tennessee is looking to bounce back from the first loss of the Josh Heupel era Saturday at Neyland Stadium.
Each week, the RTI team will provide game predictions for Tennessee’s weekly opponent.
We move on to Tennessee Tech.
Ric Butler: The Vols are 6-0 against Tennessee Tech. In all of those games, they have scored 36 or more points. Meanwhile, in four of their six meetings, the Golden Eagles have put up zero points. On average, the Vols are scoring 49.5 points each game. I say that to say Saturday’s game should be no different. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Tennessee Tech does not get in the endzone unless it’s on an aggressive special teams play. The Vols held Bowling Green from scoring a touchdown, and I would imagine repeating that is a goal of theirs. Meanwhile, on offense, even with quarterback uncertainty, it should be a field day for the Tennessee offense. Saturday’s game needs to be one in which Tennessee uses its opportunities wisely. The Vols have, let’s say 12 drives, give or take a few, before they will be back on the field, under the lights, against Florida. They need to use those opportunities to get certain things in line before that game. Whether it’s seeing what they have among their quarterbacks, giving Jaylen Wright extended time for a second week, or something else, Tennessee can still accomplish a lot of things against a bad team. I expect this to be a breezy win for Tennessee. In the end, I’d have to believe that we are talking more about what’s next, as opposed to what just happened.
Prediction: Tennessee 49, Tennessee Tech 0
Ryan Schumpert: Tennessee Tech is really bad, even for an FCS team. The Golden Eagles lost by 38 points to Samford week one and 26 points to Furman week two. Last week against the Paladins, Tennessee Tech tallied just 121 yards of offense. I don’t see this one staying close long and the storylines coming out of this game will be more focused on who plays and who doesn’t rather than what occurs on the field. Is Joe Milton healthy enough to play? If he is, how does Heupel divide preps between him and Hendon Hooker? Does Harrison Bailey make his season debut? How early can some of Tennessee’s young backups get in the game and earn experience? These are the storylines I’m watching for Saturday. Defensive end Byron Young’s debut is the one performance-based storyline that I’ll be closely following, and even that I’ll take with a grain of salt. I think Tennessee connects on some of the deep balls they’ve missed the first two weeks and roll in a big way over the Golden Eagles.
Prediction: Tennessee 55, Tennessee Tech 3