Preview and Predictions: Tennessee Volunteers vs. Vanderbilt Commodores
Article by David May
The battle for a bowl will take place this Saturday as the Tennessee Volunteers (5–6) head to Nashville to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores (5–6). Vanderbilt has won the last two matchups in this in-state rivalry. Can the Vols return to the days where a win against the Commodores was expected, or will Vandy make it three in a row?
Where: Nashville, TN
When: 4:00 E.T.
How to watch: SEC Network
Line: Vandy -3.5
It’s no secret that Tennessee struggled in the secondary last week against Missouri. While Vanderbilt has had nowhere near success as the Tigers on offense, the Commodores have a well-balanced offense led by quarterback Kyle Shurmur. Shurmur threw for a career-high 416 yards in a heartbreaking upset of the Vols in 2016. He also had four touchdown passes last year. The secondary will need to step up and keep things tight in the backfield in order for the Vols to pull out a win.
Vandy RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn is one of the more underrated running backs in the SEC as he has quietly racked up 976 yards on 138 rushing attempts (7.1 avg.) and 10 TD’s. Vaughn will need to have a big game in order to keep Vandy’s offense balanced. The Vols have shown that they can shut down a one dimensional offense. Can Vaughn do enough to keep Tennessee’s defense guessing?
David: (31–28 OT) Vanderbilt. The Vols keep it close, but Vandy pulls out the win in an overtime thriller. The young Vols secondary gets burnt again as Shurmur throws for 350+ yards. Except for against ETSU, the Vols offense have yet to put up 30+ points this season.
John: (31-21) Tennessee. The Volunteers come out angry and hit the Commodores in the mouth early. Vanderbilt isn't built to overcome a deficit. If Tennessee CAN hit them early and fast, they’ll stand a better chance of winning the game. Guarantano throws for 180, 2 TDs and 0 int.
Nate: (27-24) Tennessee. This team and coaching staff knows what’s at stake. I think Guarantano will make enough plays for the offense, and I think defensively we match up very well with the Commodores offense.
Brandon: (24-10) Tennessee. I think the Vols come out and force Vanderbilt to be one dimensional on offense. I also think that Tennessee protects Guarantano enough for Jennings and Callaway to both have big days with a TD apiece. Watch Darrel Taylor to give a struggling Vandy line problems, and the freshman duo at corner to play well.
Dustin Chapman (Florida Gators Correspondent): (24-20) Tennessee.