After its biggest win in over two decades, Tennessee is back at Neyland Stadium Saturday for a matchup against instate FCS foe UT Martin.
Each week, the RTI team will provide game predictions for Tennessee’s weekly opponent.
We move on to UT Martin
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It’s pretty crazy how Tennessee drew a bye following the Florida win and UT Martin after the Alabama win. Talk about scheduling luck! Tennessee will have a great chance this week to reset, focus, get back to basics, and get everything fine-tuned for Kentucky next Saturday night under the lights of Neyland Stadium.
Make no mistake about it, UT Martin is not one of these FCS teams that are just meandering along trying to survive. This Skyhawks offense has been fairly successful this year, putting up 30 or more points in five of their six games so far this season. While the UT Martin offense doesn’t scare me for the sake of Tennessee’s defense, I do think that it will be a great and valuable experience for some of Tennessee’s younger players that are sitting back on the depth chart. Maybe we see a freshman like Jourdan Thomas enter the mix for a portion of the game. On the flip side, though, the same can be said about Tennessee’s offensive players. I expect the rotations to start sometime in the second half, but this could be a great game to get players like Squirrel White and Dylan Sampson heavy touches with the ball.
Tennessee is rolling right now. Homecoming will be exciting in Knoxville. And in addition to the Homecoming events, Tennessee should give their home crowd fans plenty to cheer about.
Prediction: Tennessee 59, UT Martin 14
Coming off a monumental win over Alabama, Tennessee is in the letdown spot of all letdown spots. Luckily for the Vols, their schedule is doing them a massive favor. Instead of resetting to Kentucky and another critical SEC game, Tennessee gets FCS top 15 program UT Martin at Neyland Stadium.
UT Martin is a really good FCS team with a great FCS offense. The Skyhawks only losses came against Boise State and top 10 FCS team Missouri State. UT Martin has a great chance to win the Ohio Valley Conference and make the FCS Playoffs. They also are more than capable of beating a FBS team like Akron who the Vols rolled at Neyland Stadium back in September.
All those good things I just said about UT Martin won’t matter on Saturday. This Tennessee offense overwhelms good SEC defenses. A FCS defense isn’t going to have any hope of slowing them down. I don’t see Hendon Hooker getting much action in the second half as the Vols’ offense goes for 50 points for the second straight week.
UT Martin’s offense does present a nice challenge for the Vols’ defense especially due to its deficiencies in the secondary. I’ll be interested to see how stout the banged up unit is against the Skyhawks.
Prediction: Tennessee 52, UT Martin 13