Football Preview: Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt

Vols WR Marquez Callaway / Credit: UT Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee will look to wrap up the month of November undefeated as in-state rival Vanderbilt visits Neyland Stadium this Saturday for the regular-season finale.

The Vols enter the contest on a four-game winning streak and secured bowl eligibility for the first time since 2016 with a road win at Missouri last weekend.

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 4 p.m.

Fans can also listen to Tennessee’s official radio broadcast on the Vol Network (WIVK-FM 107.7) and satellite radio (Sirius Ch. 134, XM Ch. 190, Internet Ch. 961). Bob Kesling (PxP), Tim Priest (analyst) and Brent Hubbs (analyst) will call the action.

Need to Know
Senior Day
Be sure to get to your seats early on Saturday as Tennessee will recognize 13 seniors prior to kickoff as they run through the T for the final time.

Aerial Attack
While the defense has led the charge in Tennessee’s incredible turnaround, it was the offensive – specifically the passing attack – that led the Vols to victory in Missouri.

Quarterback Jarrett Guarantano had a career day with 415 passing yards and two touchdowns. The 415 passing yards were the fourth most in a single game in program history and the most since Tyler Bray set a school record with 530 passing yards against Troy in 2012. The redshirt junior signal caller was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance.

Guarantano had help from his impressive group of wideouts, which featured three players posting 100-plus yards receiving for the first time in program history. Josh Palmer led the way with 124 yards on six catches (both career highs), while Jauan Jennings had five grabs for 115 yards and a touchdown and Marquez Callaway snagged five ball for 110 yards and a score.

Bituli On Another Level
Senior linebacker Daniel Bituli has been downright dominant throughout conference play this season, leading the SEC with 10.1 tackles per game in league games. The Nashville native posted his third game with double-digit tackles in UT’s win over Mizzou, leading all players with 12, including a sack. That performance was off the heels of a 19-tackle night at Kentucky that earned him SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Bituli currently leads the team with 74 tackles this season despite missing the first two games with an injury. If he finishes the year as the team leader in tackles, he would join VFL A.J. Johnson as the only two Vols to lead the program in tackles for three straight seasons.

Going Bowling!
With last Saturday’s 24-20 road win against Missouri, UT secured bowl eligibility for the first time since 2016. The victory over the Tigers was the fourth straight for the Big Orange, who have won five of the past six games after starting the year 1-4.

This season’s bowl game will mark the 53rd overall in program history, which ranks sixth among all college football programs. The Vols are 28-24 all-time in bowl games.

Getting it Done in the Classroom and on the Gridiron
Early this week it was announced that Tennessee had a program-record four players earn CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team honors, breaking the previous record of three (2016). The Vols had more players earn Academic All-District honors than any other Power 5 team.

Series History: Vanderbilt
Vols lead series, 75-32-5

The Tennessee-Vanderbilt series dates back further than any other in program history, with the first meeting between the two programs coming way back in 1892. The only opponent that the Vols have faced more than the Commodores (112 meetings) is Kentucky (115 meetings).

The Big Orange have dominated the all-time series with a 75-32-5 overall record and a 38-12-1 record at home. However, UT will be looking to snap a three-game losing streak to their in-state rival on Saturday.

About Vanderbilt
The Commodores ended a three-game losing streak with a 38-0 shutout win over ETSU last Saturday. However, Vandy enters Saturday’s game in last place in the SEC East with a 1-6 conference record and 3-8 mark overall this season. The Dores are led by sixth-year head coach Derek Mason, who is 27-46 overall and has led the program to a pair of bowl appearances during his tenure.

Vanderbilt’s top weapon on offense is senior running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who ranks sixth in the SEC in rushing at 92.3 yards per game. The Nashville native has run for 1,015 yards and nine touchdowns to pace the offense this season.

The Commodores have used a handful of players behind center this season, but veteran Riley Neal has been the most productive of the group with 1,446 passing yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions on the year. Senior wide receiver Kalija Lipscomb has been the top target in the passing game with 43 receptions for 468 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, redshirt sophomore linebacker Dimitri Moore leads the team with 88 total tackles to go along with six tackles for loss and three pass breakups. Defensive end Dayo Odeyingbo leads the unit with 9.5 tackles for loss while outside linebacker Andre Mintze leads the team with 4.5 sacks. Junior safety Tae Daley leads the secondary with 53 tackles and three interceptions.

Gameday Promotions
Senior Day
Tennessee will honor 13 seniors prior to kickoff as they run through the T for the final time. Be in your seats 30 minutes prior to kickoff to see the presentations.

Salute to Service
Saturday will also be this year’s Salute to Service game. Select military personnel will lead the Vol Walk and there will be a Blackhawk helicopter flyover as well as in-game recognitions.

-UT Athletics

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