Tennessee vs Chattanooga: Will the Vols notch their first victory of the season?
By: Rachel Ward
The All Vol Call in Show
September 13, 2019.
Before the 2019 Tennessee football season started, many predicted that the Vols would be going into this weekend’s UTC matchup with easiness, grabbing a third win before an on-the-road game in Gainesville.
In an interview on Tuesday, Marquez Callaway noted that this team “needs to do a lot of improving” and that “the confidence level is going up right now.” Callaway told the media that it’s not one person pointing fingers at another as to what has gone wrong this season, but it’s everyone taking ownership. It’s a collective effort as a team to push everyone forward.
As UTC rolls into Knoxville this weekend, Callaway, his teammates, and UT fans across the country will be hoping and searching for that improvement and increased confidence level Callaway talked about earlier in the week.
Wesley Hayes: Don’t shoot the messenger, but Tennessee is probably going to struggle this week again. When I say struggle, I mean to perform up to expectations. Tennessee fans don’t expect to be in a one score game against UTC in the second half, and I believe that could very well be the case Saturday.
The Mocs walk into Neyland with a NFL-type talent at quarterback, a solid offensive line, and a talented young running back. Chattanooga’s freshman phenom RB, Ailym Ford, has already rushed for 177 yards on 34 carries and two touchdowns. If their O-line can give him some holes to run through, Tennessee could be in for another dog fight. This will be an opportunity for Tennessee’s pass rush to show how good they really are against a solid unit for UTC that’s only given up one sack on the year.
I look for the Vols to keep it on the ground this week and ride their own freshman phenom in Eric Gray, as well as Ty Chandler. Tennessee’s defense will also get a nice boost from ILB Daniel Bituli’s return, after a minor surgery in fall camp forced him to miss the first two games.
It’s hard to put a score on this one, because there are so many variables, but I’m giving the Vols the nod again in a game that’s uncomfortably close late.
Prediction: 35-24, Tennessee.
John Dunn: I never thought that I would be saying that Chattanooga was a must-win game for the Volunteers. However, the season up to this point has not gone according to plan.
It appears that Tennessee has hit rock bottom. In order to dig themselves out of the hole they have gotten themselves into, they have to take down Chattanooga on Saturday in convincing fashion. Ahead of their matchup with Florida in Gainesville, Tennessee needs what momentum they can gather.
Expect the additions of Bryce Thompson and Daniel Bituli to help this young Tennessee defense in their assignments, energy and execution.
Prediction: 42-17, Tennessee.
Rachel Ward: Pruitt’s comments on UTC were that they are “very well coached.” Being very familiar with both offensive and defensive coordinators, he gave them praise for the work they do. In terms of the offense, if was stated that a big part of the UTC offensive game lies in the QB’s run game.
I think the Vols have the ability to apply pressure to UTC QB Nick Tiano, not giving him room to run or get too comfortable in the pocket. Successful offensive play needs to be there in terms of passing yards and conversions for JG (getting the ball to Jennings, Palmer and Callaway), as well as giving room for the Gray/Chandler duo to get down the field.
I think the Vols are working to get better every week, are looking to see positive results converted from the practice field to Neyland and will see the first win of the season on Saturday.
Prediction: 31-13, Tennessee.