Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt: 10 bold predictions
The Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt game was once an afterthought. Now, it’s a high-stakes game with a bowl bid on the line.
One of these teams will go from 5-6 to being bowl eligible Saturday. Who will come through in the state’s capital? Here are 10 bold predictions about Saturday’s UT-Vanderbilt game:
Jarrett Guarantano will start the game
Guarantano is day-to-day after being knocked out of the Missouri game but I’m guessing the quarterback’s toughness shows up Saturday and he takes the field with a neck injury. If Guarantano has one special trait, it’s the ability to answer the bell. Look for him to do so Saturday.
Guarantano will finish the game
Vanderbilt is tied for 12th in the SEC in sacks per game. Guarantano should be able to stay upright enough to play all four quarters. The Vols need him to. They aren’t the same offensively without him.
Marquez Callaway will play — and play well
Callaway is also day-to-day with a chest injury, but the sophomore receiver was back on the field early this week in practice so look for him to be on the field against Vanderbilt. Callaway leads the Vols in receptions (34) and yards (556).
Nigel Warrior will make a big play
I’ve been saying this for weeks, so I’m sticking with it. Warrior is second on the team with 56 tackles but the safety still has only 1 tackle for a loss, no interceptions and no sacks. Surely, in the regular-season finale, Warrior can make that one impact play that his otherwise solid play has been missing.
Tennessee will win and be bowl eligible
This wouldn’t have been a bold predictions in previous years, but Vandy has two 2 in a row and 4 of the past 6. Given UT’s recent struggles and a daunting schedule, the Vols becoming bowl eligible is quite bold. If the Vols are playing (and more importantly practicing) in December, they should be commended for their season.
Kyle Shurmur will throw for 300 yards
The Vanderbilt quarterback is sixth in the SEC averaging 225 yards per game. The Vols are No. 8 in the SEC in pass defense. Look for Shurmur to be efficient throughout the game. However …
Despite the production, Shurmur will only throw for 1 touchdown
Look for the Vols to play a bend-but-don’t-break defense against the Dores. Shurmur has only thrown 20 touchdown passes this season and that includes some really weak competition.
Tennessee will not stomp on Vanderbilt’s logo
Some UT players brought up the fact that Vandy’s players stomped on the ‘T’ in Neyland Stadium last season. Don’t look for that to happen this year in return. That just doesn’t seem like the Jeremy Pruitt way. It’s not a matter of class nor lack thereof. Pruitt, however, is pragmatic. He doesn’t want to provide any motivation for Vanderbilt now or in the future.
Vandy fans will account for half of the filled seats in the stadium
That would have been an incredibly bold statement 10 years ago when the Vols regularly turned Vanderbilt Stadium into Neyland West. However, the two programs have changed mightily. There will be empty seats, but there will be Vandy fans in some of the occupied ones.
Vanderbilt will have the ball with a chance to win in the final minutes
Look for this game to be extremely tight. However, UT will win, 23-20.