Tennessee returns to the football field after their bye week as they hit the road to play the ailing Auburn Tigers. After the disappointing losses to West Virginia, Florida and Georgia, the Vols have just one last shot at a signature win for the 2018 campaign.
After showing signs of improvement offensively against Georgia, Tennessee, believe it or not, has a solid shot at upsetting the 15 point favored Auburn Tigers. The Vols had an extra week to prepare and Auburn is coming off a 23-9 loss at Mississippi State.
Auburn has struggled offensively as well, which is why I believe Tennessee can hang around in this game. Tennessee, regardless of the beatdowns they’ve received thus far, the defense hasn’t actually been atrociously bad. Tennessee has played teams that score a lot of points, and to beat a team that scores a lot of points, you have to score a lot of points. Pretty easy concept. In their three losses, the Vols have scored 14, 21 and 12. If you’re wondering why they are 2-3, there’s your reason.
Tennessee’s losing streak in the SEC is at a school-record 11 straight games.
If the Vols can pick up where they left off in the second half of the Georgia game and move the chains, they can put a good scare into the Tigers on Saturday. Here’s four factors that I believe play into the Vols favor:
- Coming off of a bye week, a little momentum from the 2nd half offensive performance against Georgia
- Auburn coming off of an embarrassing loss to Mississippi State, now sitting at 1-2 in the SEC, pressure on Malzahn
- 11:00 kick, fans are upset with the Tigers so far in 2018, can’t imagine Auburn fans flooding into the stadium to make this a very intimidating road environment
- Players have anonymously attacked coach Gus Malzahn saying “He’s a high school coach. He don’t know how to coach big boy football.” Players giving up on him?
With the remaining schedule for the Vols, this is the last chance to put a signature win on their resume. Tennessee does get to host Alabama next week, but that is not going to end well for the Vols. So yes, this is the last chance. Beating Kentucky, Missouri, Vanderbilt or Charlotte certainly would not be considered “signature” wins.
The game will air on SEC Network at noon (EST).