Taking to The Plains: Volunteers Look to Start Home-Stretch of 2020 Season on Positive Note at Auburn

Tennessee returns to action for the first time in two weeks after an unexpected open weekend when it travels to No. 23/21 Auburn for a prime time kickoff on ESPN inside Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Volunteers scheduled home game vs. Texas A&M on November 14 in Neyland Stadium was postponed due to a combination of positive COVID tests and contract tracing within the Aggie Football program.

That game is tentatively scheduled for December 12 in Knoxville. All three of Tennessee’s currently scheduled November games are on the road, marking the first time since 1891 that the Vols will not play a home game during a calendar month.

Auburn was one of UT’s two additions to its 10-game conference schedule. The two teams are meeting for the first time since a 30-24 Tennessee win in 2018. The Tigers lead the all-time series 28-22-3.

Saturday’s game will be available for viewing on ESPN at 6 p.m. CT with Joe Tessitore (Play-by-Play), Greg McElroy (Analyst), and Allison Williams (Sideline), on the call.

The game will be available over the airwaves in the Smokey Mountain region by way of WIVK-FM 107.7 FM and WNML-FM 99.1, with Bob Kesling (Play-by-Play), Tim Priest & Brent Hubbs (Analysts), and Kasey Funderburg (Sidelines) on the call.

Saturday’s meeting will be the 54th all-time meeting between the Volunteers and Tigers. Auburn has won six out of the last seven meetings. The meeting will mark only the eighth meeting on the gridiron since 2000.

In Knoxville: Tennessee leads the series 14-10-2.

In Auburn: The Tigers lead 7-3-1.

In Birmingham: Auburn leads 10-4.

The two squads have met twice in the SEC Championship, tied 1-1 in Atlanta, Georgia. Tennessee’s biggest win in the series was a 42-point win over Auburn on The Plains in 1980.

Auburn’ s biggest win in the series history is 32 points, which has occurred twice, most recently in 2013 in Knoxville.

Tennessee’s record on November 21 games is: 9-5-1. They are currently on a five-game winning streak.

Source: Tennessee Football Twitter.

Volunteers Look to Take Recent Frustrations out on Pittman’s Pesky Hogs

Before the football season began on September 26, these two programs seemed like they would be at two totally different ends of the totem pole.

Jeremy Pruitt’s Tennessee Volunteers (2-3) entered the season ranked in the Top 25, while first-year head coach Sam Pittman’s Arkansas Razorbacks (2-3) seemed to have Kirby Smart’s then-fourth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs on the proverbial ropes before the Dawgs came storming back with a late surge to take a 37-10 win over the Hogs in Fayetteville.

While both teams enter with identical 2-3 records, it seems that this game is a must-win for the Volunteers if they hope to get things back on track as we head toward the home stretch of the 2020 season.

Arkansas, who wasn’t expected to be very competitive at all this season has shocked the nation. The Hogs were projected to be the second-worst Southeastern Conference team in front of only Vanderbilt before the season began.

For Tennessee, things have taken a completely different path. The Volunteers were expected to be among the best in the Southeastern Conference in 2020 during the preseason, but that’s not the case on Rocky Top.

This year marks the 13th-straight season that Tennessee is not in contention for a conference title. Since leading Georgia 21-17 at halftime on October 10, Pruitt’s Volunteers have been outscored 109-24.

Following an open date on October 31, the Tennessee Volunteers are set to begin the second-half of their 2020 season with a trip to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to visit the pesky Razorbacks.

This will be Tennessee’s first trip to Fayetteville since 2011, as the Volunteers and Hogs are scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. CT kick on the SEC Network, with Tom Hart (play-by-play), Jordan Rodgers (analyst), and Cole Cubelic (sideline) on the call.

The game will be available on the airwaves in the Smokey Mountain region on the Vol Network WIVK 107.7 FM and WNML-FM 99.1 with Bob Kesling (play-by-play), Tim Priest and Brent Hubbs (analysts), and Kasey Funderburg (sideline) on the call.

Saturday’s contest in Fayetteville will mark the 19th overall meeting between the Razorbacks and Volunteers, and the sixth meeting in Fayetteville. Tennessee leads the all-time series 13-5.

In Knoxville, the Volunteers lead the series 6-2, in Fayetteville, Tennessee leads 3-2, in Little Rock, the Volunteers lead 3-0, and in bowl games, Tennessee leads 2-0.

The Volunteers all-time record on November 7 is (15-3), they are on a 14-game winning streak on this date.

In the last five games on this date, Tennessee is 5-0: 1981: 24-21 W over Wichita State, 1987: 41-10 W over Louisville, 1998: 37-13 W over UAB, 2009: 56-28 W over Memphis, and 2015: 27-24 over South Carolina.

Source: Tennessee Football Twitter.

Tennessee to Face Tough Mid-season Test in Hard-nosed, Second-ranked Alabama in Knoxville

It’s no secret that the Tennessee-Alabama rivalry has fallen off of a proverbial cliff in the last 13 years, from 2007 to last year, but that doesn’t take away from the downright hatred and bad blood that continues to flow rapidly through the veins of these two programs, and fans of the two respective programs alike.

Traditionally, the rivalry game has been played on the third Saturday in October. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic influenced schedules, the game was pushed back a week.

The Tennessee Volunteers and the second-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide are set to renew their rivalry at 2:30 p.m. CT Saturday in Neyland Stadium on CBS. Gameday seating will be at approximately 25 percent of the venue’s full capacity of 102,455.

Saturday’s game will be available over the airwaves of the Smokey Mountains on the Vol Network with Bob Kesling (play-by-play), Tim Priest and Brent Hubbs (analysts), and Kasey Funderburg (sideline) on the call.

The CBS broadcast will be brought to viewers by Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (analyst), and Jamie Erdahl (sideline) on the call.

Recent series history has been in favor of Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide, as Alabama has won 13 meetings in a row (2007-2019). Tennessee has won nine of its last 12 games dating back to last season. Saturday marks the halfway point for the Volunteers’ season as Tennessee is off on October 31.

Tennessee punt returners are averaging 20.0 yards per punt return this season, which ranks third in the country and second in the Southeastern Conference.

Kick returner Velus Jones Jr., is averaging 25.0 yards per kick return this season, which ranks second among teams in the Southeastern Conference.

Tennessee’s defense has recorded two touchdowns thus far in 2020, which ranks third in the country and third in the Southeastern Conference.

20 Volunteers have made their Tennessee debut in 2020, including 17 true freshmen.

Inside the Series:

Saturday’s meeting between Alabama and Tennessee will mark the 103rd all-time meeting between the bitter rivals.

Alabama leads the series 57-38-7. The Crimson Tide lead the series in Knoxville, 26-20-1, Tuscaloosa, 10-4, and Birmingham 14-21-6.

Tennessee’s largest margin of victory in the series is 27 points (41-14, 1969 and 1995 respectively). Both of those games were played in Birmingham.

The Volunteers’ largest margin of defeat in the series is 51, which occurred in 1906, when the Tide beat Tennessee 51-0 in Birmingham.

Tennessee’s all-time record in games played on October 24 is 12-4-2, they are currently on a two game losing streak.

The last time a game was played on October 24 came in 2015 (19-14 L). The others came in 2009 (12-10 L to Alabama), 1998 (35-18 W over Alabama), 1987 (29-15 W over Georgia Tech), and 1981 (38-9 W over Memphis State).

Tennessee and Alabama have faced each other four times on October 24. The Vols own a 2-2 record again the Tide on that date, outscoring them 76-75.

Source: Tennessee Football Twitter.

Pruitt Leads No. 14/12 Tennessee to Athens for Top 15 Showdown with No. 3 Georgia

For the first time since their October 7, 2006, No. 12 Tennessee and No. 3 Georgia will square off against each other as top 15 teams at 2:30 p.m. CT Saturday in Athens. The then-No. 13 Vols bested the then-No. 10 Bulldogs, 51-33, in Sanford Stadium that day.

Saturday’s game will be available for viewing on CBS with Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (analyst), and Jamie Erdahl (sideline) on the call.

Across the airwaves in Tennessee, Vol fans can listen to the game on their radios by tuning their radios to the Vol Network, available on WIVK-FM 107.7 and WNML-FM 99.1, where Bob Kesling (play-by-play), Tim Priest (analyst), Brent Hubbs (analyst), and Kasey Funderburg (sideline) will describe the action.

Tennessee is making its first appearance on CBS since November 17, 2018. This will mark the 50th all-time meeting between the Volunteers and Bulldogs, with Georgia holding a slim 24-23-2 edge in the series to this point. Tennessee will be seeking their first 3-0 overall start since 2016 and their first 3-0 start in conference play since 1998.

The Volunteers carry an eight-game winning streak and a six-game SEC win streak into Week 3. That mark is currently the second-longest in the country, the longest in the Southeastern Conference, and tied for the longest in the Power Five. It’s Tennessee’s second-longest winning streak since the 1998 national championship season. The Volunteers trail only Air Force (9) for the longest win streak in the nation.

The Volunteers have won nine of their last 10 games, and three straight SEC road games. The six-game conference winning streak is Tennessee’s longest since winning six in a row from October 31, 2015 to October 1, 2016.

Will Jeremy Pruitt and the Volunteers of Tennessee extend their winning streak to nine games on Saturday or will Kirby Smart and his Bulldogs have other plans?

Find out a 2:30 p.m. CT on CBS.

Source: Tennessee Football Twitter.

No. 21/20 Tennessee Carries Power Five’s Longest Active Win Streak into Home Opener vs. Missouri

Now on its 124th football season, Tennessee hosts Missouri in its 2020 home opener at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, October 3, 2020 at 11 a.m. CT in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The battle between the Tigers and Volunteers will be available on the SEC Network with Dave Neal (play-by-play), DJ Shockley (analyst), and Dawn Davenport on the sidelines.

Across the airwaves in Tennessee the game will be aired on the Vol Radio Network on WIVK-FM 107.7 and WNML 99.1. As well as Sirius channel 105 and XM channel 190 with Bob Kesling (play-by-play), Tim Priest and Brent Hubbs (analysts), and Kasey Funderburg providing updates from the sidelines.

Saturday’s meeting between Missouri and Tennessee will be the latest home opener on the Volunteers calendar since hosting arch-rival Alabama on October 20, 1962. Tennessee will return home for the first time in 308 days when it defeated Vanderbilt 28-10 on November 30, 2019.

Tennessee has won four in a row at Neyland Stadium, having outscored their opponents 119-48 in that span with all four victories coming by way of double-digits. The team’s current win streak began in October 12, 2019, a 20-10 win over Mississippi State.

The Volunteers carry the longest winning streak amongst teams in the Power Five conferences into Saturday. Having won seven straight overall and five straight Southeastern Conference games, a win over Missouri on Saturday could potentially give Tennessee the longest active winning streak in the nation, Tennessee trails only Air Force (8) and Notre Dame (8) in that category.

Sophomore running back Eric Gray has five combined rushing touchdowns in his last three games.

The Volunteers defense has been stingy when it comes points during this seven-game win streak, only surrendering 17.1 points per game in that span.

Senior quarterback Jarrett Guarantano has 26 career starts behind center, which ranks ninth in Tennessee football history, one shy of eighth.?

As a football program, Tennessee now has 847 all-time victories, which ranks ninth among FBS programs and second in the Southeastern Conference.

Saturday’s meeting in Knoxville between Missouri and Tennessee will be the ninth all-time, the Tigers lead the series 5-3. Entering Saturday, Tennessee is just 1-3 in Knoxville but both have split the four Columbia, Missouri meetings right down the middle, with two wins apiece. The series dates back to 2012, with the last meeting coming in 2019, a 24-20 Tennessee win in Columbia.

Tennessee is (14-4) in games played on October 3, but is currently on a two-game skid on that date. In the last game that occurred in October 3, the Volunteers fell to Arkansas 24-20, in 2015.

In the last five meetings on October 3, Tennessee is 3-2. The history of October 3 games looks like this:

1992 – 20-0 W (vs. LSU), 1996 – 41-3 W (vs. Ole Miss at a neutral site in Memphis, Tennessee), 1998 – 17-9 W (vs. Auburn), 2009 – 26-22 L (vs. Auburn), and 2015 – 24-20 L (vs. Arkansas).

Will Jeremy Pruitt and the Volunteers extend their winning streak to eight games on Saturday or will Eli Drinkiwitz and his Missouri Tigers have different plans?

Find out Saturday at 11 a.m. CT on the SEC Network.

Source: Tennessee Football Twitter.

No. 16/21-ranked Vols to Kick 2020 off in Palmetto State at South Carolina

Its been a long offseason, but the wait is almost over. Head coach Jeremy Pruitt and his 16th-ranked Volunteers will kickoff the 2020 campaign with the first of its 10-game-conference-only schedule on Saturday night at Williams-Brice Stadium, in Columbia, South Carolina.

Kickoff for the lid-lifter the Volunteers and Gamecocks is slated for 6:30 p.m. CT on the SEC Network, with Taylor Zarzour (play-by-play), Matt Stinchcomb (analyst), and Alyssa Lang (sideline) on the call.

Across the airwaves of Knoxville, Tennessee, Volunteer fans will the familiar “Voice of the Volunteers”, Bob Kesling (play-by-play) on the call, with Tim Priest and Brent Hubbs providing commentary, and Kasey Funderburg will provide updates to Bob, Tim, and Brent, from the sidelines.

September 26 will be the latest opener for Tennessee on the calendar since opening the 1962 campaign on September 29 against Auburn in Birmingham, at historic Legion Field.

The Vols carry a six-game overall win streak and a four-game conference win streak into Williams-Brice on Saturday, which is currently the fifth-longest “active” streak in the country, the third-longest among Power 5 schools, and the longest among SEC East foes.

Tennessee only trails LSU (16), Air Force (8), Notre Dame (8), and Florida-Atlantic for the longest win streak in the nation.

This will mark the 39th all-time meeting between Tennessee and South Carolina on the gridiron, Tennessee leads the all-time series (26-10-2). The series dates back to 1903.

The Volunteers hold a (9-4-2) record in games played on September 26, with last one coming September 26, 2015, a 28-27 loss to Florida.

The last games on September 26 came in: 1992 – (40-0 W vs Cincinnati), 1998 – (42-7 W vs. Houston), 2005 – (30-27 overtime W at #4 LSU), 2009 – (34-23 W vs. Ohio) and the aforementioned 2015 loss to Florida in Gainesville.

Tennessee ranks 10th in the NCAA in all-time wins with 846, trailing only Michigan (962), Ohio State (924), Texas (917), Alabama (916), Notre Dame (910), Oklahoma (909), Nebraska (902), Penn State (898), and USC (847).

Will Tennessee extend their current win streak to seven on Saturday in Columbia against Will Muschamp’s Gamecocks?

Find out at 6:30 p.m. CT on the SEC Network.

Source: UTSports.com.

Vols Complete Cinderella Season with Win over Indiana in TaxSlayer Gator Bowl

Jeremy Pruitt and Tennessee Football has done it, once again. They started off the season with a 1-4 record, but then, the ship was righted and the Vols went 7-1 in their last eight games.

Many people had counted Coach Pruitt and his boys from Rocky Top out. Nobody thought they had what it took to make a bowl game early on.

There was a point in time where Jeremy had to do something and do something fast because his seat was getting warmer and warmer each week and the media was calling for his head.

But on Thursday, January 2, 2020, those critics and the same media that were calling for Pruitt’s head was silenced.

Everybody’s jaws were on the floor, they couldn’t believe what they had just witnessed. Heading into the fourth quarter, the Volunteers were down 22-9.

But they never gave up, scoring 14 points in just 30 seconds to take a 23-22 lead over the Indiana Hoosiers from the Big Ten Conference.

None of that would’ve been possible had Pruitt not rolled the dice and come up successful on an onside kick attempt.

When media asked him what made him make that decision at that point in time, Pruitt stated “Well, we were down a score.”

Needless to say, he took a risk, knowing what was at stake and it paid off.

Believe it or not, Tennessee is 2020 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl Champions.

Whether you like it or not, you have to respect Tennessee for the Cinderella season that was 2019.

Picture: Tennessee Football Twitter.

Tennessee to Top Miraculous Turnaround Season with Trip to Gator Bowl to face Indiana

It’s no secret that Tennessee got off to a rough start to the season in 2019, but in their last seven games, the tables turned. The last seven games saw the Vols go an unforeseen 6-1.

On Sunday, it was announced that Tennessee (7-5) would be heading to Jacksonville, Florida’s TaxSlayer Gator Bowl.

Head coach Jeremy Pruitt’s Volunteers will face the Big Ten’s Indiana Hoosiers, who will come into the January 2, 2020 bowl game at (8-4).

The 2019 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl will be the 75th anniversary of one of college football’s most-storied, prized bowls.

The meeting between Indiana and Tennessee in Jacksonville, Florida, will be just the second all-time meeting between the two programs, with the only previous meeting coming in the 1987 Peach Bowl on January 2, 1988, with Tennessee coming away victorious 27-22.

This bowl appearance will be Tennessee’s 53rd postseason appearance all-time, which is sixth in college football history.

The Volunteers have been to six previous Gator Bowls, with this being their seventh appearance.

Tennessee’s in the Gator Bowl is 4-2, with their most recent trip to Jacksonville coming in 2015, when the Volunteers toppled the Iowa Hawkeyes by a final score of 45-28.

Prior to that, Tennessee beat Virginia Tech in the Gator Bowl in 1994, lost to Texas Tech in the Gator Bowl in 1973, lost to Florida in the Gator Bowl in 1969, beat Syracuse in the Gator Bowl in 1966, and beat Texas A&M in the Gator Bowl of 1957.

Can the Vols make it 5-2 all-time in the storied Gator Bowl?

Find out January 2, 2020 at 6pm CT on ESPN.

Picture: (UTSports.com)

Ain’t No Smoggy Smoke on Rocky Top: Jeremy Pruitt guides Vols to remarkable turnaround, Vols Bowl Eligible for First Time Since 2016

It wasn’t probable or pretty but Tennessee (6-5) is headed to a bowl for the first time in three seasons.

Early on in the season, if you would’ve told me Tennessee would be bowl eligible on November 23rd, I would’ve had my doubts but hoped for the best.

After starting their season with a 1-4 mark, following losses to Georgia State, BYU, Florida and Georgia with their lone win being against a sub-par Chattanooga team, the future was looking bleak for the Volunteers.

Since then, Tennessee has gone 5-1 in their last six games, with their only loss coming at the hands of top-ranked Alabama and their wins coming over Mississippi State, South Carolina, the week after the Gamecocks shocked the nation by defeating #3 Georgia, UAB, Kentucky, and Missouri.

The Volunteers are on a four-game winning streak and they have a chance to finish the regular-season at (7-5) with a win vs. Vanderbilt next week.

Rocky Top you’ll always be home sweet home to me.

Picture: Tennessee Football Twitter.