Volunteer State showdown: Vanderbilt vs. Tennessee (predictions)
By: John Dunn and Rachel Ward
The All Vol Call in Show
If you stepped back into the 90's and told anyone that in the very near future Vanderbilt would hold a three game winning streak over Tennessee, you would have been laughed out of town.
The two teams started playing in 1892, with Vanderbilt dominating the first decade of the rivalry, winning the first nine games of the series. The streak of nine games remains the Dores' longest streak throughout the rivalry. The total of nine wins during that span (1892-1913) is more than Vanderbilt has won against Tennessee from 1960-present, even after winning the last three. (Eight wins/one tie).
The overall series record stands at 75-33-5. So, do the Vols' continue their winning ways as they look to extend their winning streak for the season to five games? Or, do the Commodores come in with a chip on their shoulder and something to prove?
John Dunn: If there's one thing I can't stand, it's for a Vanderbilt fan to scream, "we dominate Tennessee", because they've won the last three games. I never thought I'd see the day that our "little brother" in Nashville would hold a three game win streak over the mighty Vols.
But, times have changed. Tennessee has been ailing for years it seems. However, we are finally starting to see the team that we all knew we had. It didn't take an expert to see that the Vols had all the pieces in place to be successful. Now, those pieces are finally starting to move in unison with a common goal -- win.
This will be the last time we see guys like Jauan Jennings, Marquez Callaway, Daniel Bituli, Darrell Taylor and Nigel Warrior will run through the "T" in Neyland Stadium. They're going to be chomping at the bit to show out for Vol Nation one last time at home.
With revenge on their minds and a lot of emotional momentum, I expect Tennessee to come out with more intensity than they have all season.
They accomplished the main goal -- they made a bowl game. There will be no pressure on Tennessee to win in order to make the post season. I think that will allow them to play much more loose.
With all of these factors coming into play and a huge wave of confidence after defeating Missouri, as well as the game being in Neyland Stadium, I fully expect Tennessee to dominate this game start to finish.
The Tennessee defense will have to shut down Vanderbilt running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn. He is a very physical runner that possesses explosive play making ability. Lipscomb and Pinkney will also need to be focused on, as they are able to stretch the field vertically for Vanderbilt, opening up the running game.
I'm predicting a big game for the defense. Two takeaways, (one interception and one fumble recovery) three sacks, (two by Taylor) and they will limit Vanderbilt to less than 300 total yards with 14 or less points.
The offense should be able to put up big numbers against a less-than-average Vanderbilt defense. Guarantano has another big game, Jennings and Callaway will produce huge numbers.
Prediction: 42-10; Tennessee. (Goodbye, seniors, we love you.)
Rachel Ward: Vanderbilt has won three straight match ups with Tennessee in a row, but the Vols have what it takes to break that winning streak on Saturday.
With a 3-8 record, the Commodores just haven’t had a season that poses much a threat to the Vols’ momentum. Not only momentum, but the Vols are coming off an exciting win that resulted in bowl eligibility, as well as the best game of Guarantano’s career.
Top all of that off with a home field advantage and the Vols are looking very likely to add another conference win to the season and a first win against Vanderbilt since 2015.
Prediction: 38-17; Tennessee.