Tennessee and Chattanooga will face off for the first time since 2014 this Saturday. Tennessee is unfortunately still looking for their first win this season. Last week was probably one of the most inexcusable losses in recent memory, losing to BYU 29-26 in overtime after seemingly controlling the entire game. The hope is that the Vols will get their first win of the year here before taking a trip down to Gainesville on the 21st. But to do that they have to get past the Mocs, which could be tougher than it sounds.
Who are they?
Chattanooga comes into this game 1-1 after losing 41-20 to rival Jacksonville State. This is head coach Rusty Wright’s first season at the helm, after coaching linebackers at Georgia state for the past two years. This isn’t what you want to hear if you’re a Tennessee fan, because Georgia State a couple weeks ago gave Tennessee one of its worst losses in school history. Not that this means anything, but it is a little strange.
On offense, Chattanooga might have an advantage at quarterback. Senior quarterback Nick Tiano is entering his second as the starter. Last year he threw for over 2,700 yards, with 15 TDs and a 61.5 completion percentage. So, he’s definitely no scrub when compared to Jarrett Guarantano, who’s numbers aren’t terrible but has several issues with throwing the ball. After that freshman running back Ailym Ford has been great for the Mocs these past 2 weeks, putting up 127 yards on Jacksonville state last week. They also have a Walter Peyton watch list wide receiver Junior Bryce Nunnelly. But all together the Vols should be able to keep them from lighting the world on fire.
On defense the Mocs aren’t the most amazing group in the world. They averaged letting up last year 20 points a game. That might not sound that bad, but you have to consider they were playing an FCS team schedule. Last week Jacksonville state put up over 300 yards through the air, and over 150 yards on the ground. You would really hope that Jarrett Guarantano and company would be able to have some success on Saturday
All in all, this should not be a tough game for the Vols, but I said the same thing about Georgia state. I’m still convinced that the only reason Tennessee lost that game was because they didn’t come out prepared and didn’t take them seriously. You would hope that they learned their lesson and are able to put them away by the third quarter at least, but we will see. I’m hoping that we will get to finally see backup quarterbacks Brian Maurer or J.T. Shrout in this game. Because for the firsts 2 games Guarantano has been… not great.
Prediction Chattanooga 17 Vols 41