Tennessee hosts Akron at 7 p.m. Eastern time at Neyland Stadium in its penultimate “gimme game” of the season.

Tennessee vs. Akron preview

Tennessee football paid Akron a lot of money to travel the 7 hours south to Neyland Stadium on Sept. 17 and get absolutely annihilated.

Josh Heupel and Alex Golesh’s wild and up-tempo offensive system does that to lower level teams – the Vols win these games, and they usually win them big. This is a game to see what you have as far as depth is concerned and avoid injuries in preparation for Florida week, nothing more.

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Tennessee learned a lot of what it needed to about its team last week in a defense-first win over against No. 17 Pitt. Akron, however, is still trying to learn a lot about itself.

The Zips downed FCS St. Francis (PA) in Week 1, 30-23 (in overtime, yikes), before traveling to Michigan State and, well, getting absolutely annihilated. Joe Moorhead – yes, former Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead – coaches the Zips and is attempting to guide the squad to a bowl berth for the first time since a 2017 Boca Raton Bowl loss.

Akron has a talented quarterback in DJ Irons, who threw for 286 yards and 2 touchdowns in the Zips’ opening win. He can use his legs too, which could give the Vols’ front a slight test ahead of Anthony Richardson coming to town. Think of it as a warm up, though there is a chance Jeff Undercuffler will be getting the starting nod this week after Irons went down with an injury against Michigan State.

As for defense, it’s a lot of what you would expect from a low-tier MAC program. The Zips do return 16 of their 18 top tacklers from last season, with a couple Power 5 transfers (Cam Threatt and KJ Martin) beefing up the secondary.

Another positive: Akron returned 4 out of 5 starters from last season on the offensive line, similar to Ball State’s returned line production from last season.

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With all that said, the Zips are obviously just outmatched. Tennessee opened with the second highest point-favorite spread in program history:

If you’re Tennessee, you get in and get out without revealing too much. It’s almost Florida week, Vols fans.

Prediction

This is another instance where Tennessee should win by 40 points with no questions asked. Tennessee could score 80 if it wanted to on Saturday, the only thing stopping them is Josh Heupel’s sportsmanship.

Joe Milton will get a good amount of run in this one, we presume.

Prediction: Tennessee 55, Akron 3