Remember when Gators cornerback Quincy Wilson said that a duck can’t pull a truck? Perhaps he wasn’t talking about his team. Perhaps he was talking about three teams: Texas A&M, Alabama and South Carolina.
The Tennessee Volunteers entered the season as the favorites to win the SEC East. For their first five games, they lived up to the hype. The games weren’t always pretty, but the Vols kept finding ways to win. At 5-0, they looked well on their way to winning the East for the first time since 2007. But then the inevitable happened. Tennessee lost consecutive games for the first time since last season. Although, these losses were not that surprising considering they were against Texas A&M and Alabama, two of the best teams in the SEC West.
But it was that third consecutive loss that sent shockwaves. Under first-year head coach Will Muschamp, the South Carolina Gamecocks have been experiencing some improvement on the defensive side of the ball but are struggling mightily on offense. However, they scored enough points to upset the Volunteers 24-21.
Tennessee’s season seems to be spiraling out of control. Suddenly the team that entered as the SEC East favorite needs a lot of help to get to the SEC championship. The new favorites, the Florida Gators, have a tough schedule ahead of them as they prepare to face Arkansas, South Carolina, LSU and Florida State.
In addition to their three-game losing streak, the Volunteers took a major blow when running back Jalen Hurd said that he intended to transfer and switch to either wide receiver or tight end. Hurd had 451 rushing yards for the season and is sixth all-time in program history with 2,634 rushing yards.
All distractions aside, head coach Butch Jones says his team needs to get back to winning football. Perhaps that can happen against Tennessee Tech.
The Golden Eagles
The Golden Eagles are struggling this season with a 3-5 record under first-year head coach Marcus Satterfield. They recently came off a 21-20 win over the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks. The Golden Eagles are sixth in the Ohio Valley Conference in scoring offense (27.2 points per game) and are led by quarterback Michael Birdsong who has 1,967 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions on 63.3% passing.
Despite their struggles, Tennessee Tech has made mild improvements. They improved their scoring offense from 23.1 points per game last year. Defensively, they have improved there as well. They allowed 36 points per game last year and are allowing 28.5 points per game this year. That’s still a problem, however, given that they’re struggling defensively against weaker competition than Tennessee has been playing. The Golden Eagles are facing a Vols team that has a chip on their shoulder. With the struggles that Tennessee has been experiencing, an upset is improbable, but not impossible.
Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.