Three Things You Need to Know about the Tennessee Volunteers
A piece of college football Americana is set to take place Saturday as the top ranked Alabama Crimson Tide takes on the ninth ranked Tennessee Volunteers from Neyland Stadium in Knoxville.
The Crimson Tide and Volunteers played their first ever contest in 1901 with the two teams fighting to a 6-6 deadlock in Birmingham.
Alabama carries a nine-game winning streak into Saturday’s clash with the Volunteers looking not only to break the series losing streak, but to improve their chances of making their first SEC Championship Game appearance since 2007.
As we look ahead to one of college football’s classic rivalry duals, here are the three things you should know about the Tennessee Volunteers.
Slow Starts/Strong Finishes
The most glaring aspect of the Tennessee Volunteers 2016 season has been their Jekyll and Hyde swings at the start and close of games.
The Volunteers have needed to accomplish numerous epic comebacks thanks to slow first half starts. They have surrendered opening scores to every opponent but Ohio and have trailed at halftime to every opponent except Ohio and Virginia Tech.
In the first half, opponents have outscored Tennessee 98-58 while Tennessee has outscored opponents 135-52 in the second half. Particularly striking are the first and fourth quarters. Tennessee has been outscored 62-17 in the first quarter while dominating opponents 90-28 in the fourth quarter.
A deciding factor in close games can be turnovers. While the Volunteers are ranked in the top 10 nationally, they have failed to adequately protect the football. Tennessee quarterback Josh Dobbs has thrown eight interceptions which leads the SEC. The Volunteers offense has lost eight fumbles which is the second highest in the SEC and eighth highest nationally.
1985: Tennessee’s Most Recent Win vs. #1 Opponent
Saturday marks Tennessee’s fourth straight game against a ranked opponent. The matchup against Alabama will be the 12th meeting for the Volunteers against a No. 1 ranked opponent. Tennessee is 2-9 all-time vs. top ranked opponents. The last time that the Volunteers toppled a No. 1 ranked team came in 1985 when a Bo Jackson led Auburn squad fell 38-20 in Knoxville.