By Jordan Mayton, VFL Insider
Vols Game Preview
Tennessee Volunteers (3-3, 0-3 SEC) vs Alabama Crimson Tide (7-0, 4-0 SEC)
Saturday, October 21, 3:30 PM (ET) on CBS
Bryant-Denny Stadium – Tuscaloosa, Alabama
What to watch for:
There’s not much to look forward to in this one. Tennessee has dropped two straight games and Saturday will be its hardest contest of the season. Alabama is Tennessee’s biggest rival and normally a loss here would sting. But Tennessee fans are numb.
Flash back to last Saturday, the Volunteer offense looked like it may have found new life with Jarrett Guarantano in the driver’s seat. But ineptitude and poor play calling down the stretch cost Tennessee one of the few winnable games remaining on the schedule. The loss isn’t just on Guarantano. Receivers struggled to get separation, which has been a recurring theme on the season. The offensive line and quarterback allowed seven sacks on the day.
The defense looked great at some points. They held South Carolina to a mere 15 points. However, continuity and consistency at linebacker remains to be an issue. At crucial moments, Tennessee would trot out veteran backer Colton Jumper instead of playmaker Daniel Bituli. It cost the Vols on the Gamecocks only touchdown of the day.
So Daniel Bituli was replaced by Colton Jumper at the SC 5. Guess what happened for the next 95 yards???
— Chad Withrow (@withrowzone) October 14, 2017
Somehow, Tennessee put together a great final drive, but came up just a little short.
RIP BUTCH JONES pic.twitter.com/dXFQASATBt
— Barstool USC (@BarstoolUofSC) October 14, 2017
Tennessee has little hope for Saturday’s contest. Alabama is currently a 36-point favorite against the Vols. This is supposed to be a rivalry game for Tennessee, but Team 121 won’t have much motivation.
The Tide has crushed basically every team they’ve taken on this season and the Vols will be no different.
Alabama’s stable of 5-star running backs is clicking on all cylinders. QB Jalen Hurts has been a playmaker that looks nearly untouchable with the ball in his hands. The offensive line is as solid, as usual, and the receivers are as big and physical as advertised.
Then there’s the defense. Nick Saban always hangs his hat on his defense. The Tide has only given up 253 yards per game and forced 14 turnovers on the season. All three phases of the defensive corps are deadly.
Saturday can’t come quick enough for Tennessee fans because this is a season that we all want to forget.