FB PREVIEW: #21/20 Vols Set to Host Missouri for Home Opener

~ from UTAD

Fresh off a 31-27 road victory over South Carolina in the season opener, No. 21/20 Tennessee will look to improve to 2-0 on Saturday afternoon when the Vols welcome Missouri to Neyland Stadium for their 2020 home opener.

The Vols enter Saturday’s contest with the longest current win streak in the SEC, having won their last seven games dating back to last season. The win streak is also the third longest in the FBS.

A limited number of single-game tickets are still available for Saturday’s game against the Tigers and can be purchased at AllVols.com.

Broadcast Info

Saturday’s game will be televised on the SEC Network with Dave Neal (PxP), DJ Shockley (analyst) and Dawn Davenport (sideline) on the call. Kickoff for Saturday’s contest is slated for 12:03 p.m. ET.

Fans can also listen to Tennessee’s official radio broadcast on the Vol Network (WIVK-FM 107.7/WNML-FM 99.1) and satellite radio (Sirius Ch. 105, XM Ch. 190, Internet Ch. 961).

Bob Kesling (PxP), Tim Priest (analyst) and Brent Hubbs (analyst) will call the action, with Kasey Funderburg handling sideline duties. The “Kickoff Call-In Show” begins at 10:30 a.m. ET.

Need to Know

It’s Football Time in Tennessee
Now in it’s 124th football season, Tennessee hosts Missouri in its 2020 home opener at Neyland Stadium. Gameday seating will be at approximately 25% of the venue’s full capacity due to restrictions caused by COVID-19.

Oct. 3 marks the latest home opener on the calendar since UT hosted Alabama on Oct. 20, 1962. This will be the Vols’ first home game since their 28-10 win over Vanderbilt on Nov. 30, 2019, a span of 308 days. The Big Orange have won four in a row at Neyland Stadium, having outscored opponents 119-48 during that stretch with all four victories coming by double-digits.

The Streak
The Vols finished the 2019 season as one of the hottest teams in college football, posting six straight victories to end the year, capped off by a thrilling comeback win over Indiana in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl.

After a 31-27 victory over South Carolina in this year’s season opener, UT’s seven-game win streak is tied for the third-longest in the FBS and is the longest in the SEC after LSU lost to Mississippi State last week. The longest current win streaks in the nation belong to Air Force (8), Notre Dame (8), Tennessee (7) and Florida Atlantic (7).

Tennessee also boasts a five-game win streak in SEC play, it’s longest since winning six straight from Oct. 31, 2015 to Oct. 1, 2016.

Tennessee Debuts
A total of 14 players made their Tennessee debuts in last Saturday’s season-opening win against South Carolina, including 12 true freshmen. The debuts included: WR Jimmy Calloway, WR Jimmy Holiday, WR Jalin Hyatt, OL Cooper Mays, RB Jabari Small, OL Javontez Spraggins, LS Will Albright, LB Tyler Baron, LB Morven Joseph, DB Key Lawrence, DB Doneiko Slaughter and DL Omari Thomas.

A pair of non-freshmen also made their debuts in Orange and White in redshirt senior grad transfer WR/RS Velus Jones Jr. and sophomore LS Matthew Salansky.

Johnson’s Career Night
Senior OLB/edge rusher Deandre Johnson had the best game of his Tennessee career on Saturday night against the Gamecocks. The Miami native was named the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week after setting career highs in tackles (6), sacks (2.5) and tackles for loss (2.5). Johnson also forced a fumble to stall South Carolina’s final drive of the first half. His 2.5 sacks led all SEC players last week.

Series History: Missouri

Tigers lead series, 5-3
The Vols earned a hard-fought 24-20 win over the Tigers last year in Columbia to snap a two-game skid in the series. Jarrett Guarantano became just the third Tennessee player to pass for over 400 yards in a game, joining Tyler Bray and Peyton Manning, after finishing with 415 yards and a pair of touchdowns through the air. The Vols also had three players record over 100 yards receiving for the first time in program history (Josh Palmer – 124, Jauan Jennings – 115, Marquez Callaway – 110).

UT will be looking to make it back-to-back wins over Missouri for only the second time in the series (2015 & 2016). The Vols are just 1-3 against the Tigers inside Neyland Stadium.

About Missouri

The Tigers opened their season with a 38-19 home loss to second-ranked Alabama. Redshirt junior QB Shawn Robinson had a solid game, completing 19 of 25 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown. His favorite target was junior wideout Jalen Knox, who finished with five catches for 63 yards. Senior RB Larry Rountree III led the Tigers on the ground with 67 yards on 14 carries.

Missouri is led by first-year head coach Eliah Drinkwitz, who led Appalachian State to a 12-1 record and Sun Belt Conference championship in 2019 during his only season as a head coach prior to this year.

The Tigers boast four preseason All-SEC selections in first team LB Nick Bolton, second team DB Tyree Gillespie, second team DL Kobie Whiteside and third team RB Larry Rountree III. Mizzou had one of the top defenses in the country last season, finishing 14th nationally and third in the SEC in total defense (312.0 ypg) as well as 16th in the nation and fifth in the conference in scoring defense (19.4 ppg).

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