Matchup Breakdown: Knoxville native Davis Tull vs Tennessee offensive line
The Tennessee Volunteers (2-3) will host in-state opponent Chattanooga (3-2) on Saturday at Neyland Stadium. The Vols look to bounce back from a three-game losing skid with a big win against an FCS opponent.
Chattanooga enters as the No. 12 team in the FCS. Defensive end Davis Tull is a major factor in the Mocs’ recent success. Tull is the first Chattanooga player to win Defensive Player of the Year honors twice and was the Mocs’ only FCS All-American representative. He is also the first Academic All-American in UTC football history.
Saturday’s game is extra special for Tull. The Knoxville native grew up just minutes from Neyland Stadium and is a lifelong Tennessee fan. However, the senior said his mind will be all business as he takes the field against the Vols this weekend.
“I can’t even imagine what my emotions will be like, coming out on that field and hearing boos,” Tull told the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “We lived about five minutes from the campus, so to come out of Knoxville and be a decent player who was passed up on, there’s going to be a lot of emotion and a lot of motivation for this one.”
Tull will face a Tennessee offensive line that has struggled since being exposed by Oklahoma in Week 3. The Vols allowed six sacks against Florida on Saturday and 18 for the entire season. Tull enters with 22 tackles, nine tackles for loss and five sacks.
Despite his impressive totals, Tull may be overmatched facing an SEC offensive line, which seems like a stretch based on their recent play. Even with their struggles, Tennessee’s lineman have a size advantage over Chattanooga’s front four and should provide protection for quarterback Justin Worley and the running game. However, Tull may still see a strong performance facing one of the FBS’ worst lines in the country.