Football Preview: #15 Vols Back in Neyland to Host Akron

Football Preview: #15 Vols Back in Neyland to Host Akron

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Following a hard-fought road win over Pitt last weekend, No. 15 Tennessee returns home to host Akron on Saturday night at Neyland Stadium.

The Vols are hoping to start the season 3-0 for the first time since 2016 and will look to remain unbeaten against opponents from the current Mid-American Conference (9-0).

BROADCAST INFO

Saturday’s contest will be broadcast digitally on SEC Network+ and ESPN+ with Drew Carter (PxP), Aaron Murray (analyst) and Ashley Stroehlein (sideline) on the call. Kickoff is slated for 7:02 p.m. ET. For more info on how to watch Saturday’s game, click HERE.

Fans can listen to Tennessee’s official radio broadcast on the Vol Network (Local: WIVK-FM 107.7/WNML-FM 99.1) over 64 stations across the state of Tennessee and the southeast, UTsports.com, the Tennessee Athletics App, SiriusXM (Sirius Ch. 134, XM Ch. 191, Internet Ch. 961) and the Varsity App. A live audio stream of the broadcast will also be available on UTSports.com​ and the Official Gameday App.

Bob Kesling (PxP), Pat Ryan (analyst) and Brent Hubbs (analyst) will call the action, with Kasey Funderburg handling sideline duties. The Big Orange Countdown pregame show begins at 5 p.m. ET.

GAMEDAY INFO

For the most up-to-date information on Tennessee’s 2022 gameday policies, please visit the Tennessee Football Gameday Information page on UTSports.com. Some important information is also listed below.

Tickets and Parking
Limited tickets for Saturday’s game are still available and can be purchased at AllVols.com.

Starting this fall, tickets and parking passes to all Tennessee Athletics events, including football, will be digital and can be accessed through a mobile device to improve security and reduce the risk of ticket fraud as well as make the process more convenient for fans.

Fans will gain admission into Neyland Stadium via a unique QR code which will be scanned directly from a mobile device. For quick and easy entry into Tennessee Athletics venues, fans are encouraged to download the Tennessee Athletics app from the App Store (iPhone) and Google Play (Android).

Your mobile device is the ticket on gameday. All valid digital tickets will display a moving barcode or a hold near reader (tap-and-go) icon. PLEASE NOTE: SCREENSHOTS OF TICKETS WILL NOT SCAN AT THE GATE AND WILL NOT ALLOW ENTRY!

Printed PDF tickets will no longer be issued or accepted for entry at any Tennessee Athletics venue.

The only authorized sources for tickets to Tennessee Athletics events are the Tennessee Athletics Ticket Office, AllVols.com, the venue box office where the athletic event is taking place and Ticketmaster.

A complete step-by-step guide on how to best access and use your digital tickets and parking passes, including diagrams and FAQ is available here.

Tennessee Athletics App
Fans are encouraged to download the Tennessee Athletics app, which now houses the Coca-Cola GBO Zone, allowing fans to play trivia, take part in a light show and much more. Search “Tennessee Athletics” in the Apple or Google Play Store or use this link to download: http://utsports.com/app

GAMEDAY EVENTS & ACTIVITIES

Neyland Stadium Fan Experience Enhancements
Fans can enjoy several enhancements to the gameday experience at Neyland Stadium, Shields-Watkins Field this fall, including new state-of-the-art videoboards above both end zones and the North End Zone Social Deck, among others.

For more information on all of the new stadium and gameday fan experience enhancements, click HERE.

Fireworks, Neyland Night Lights: The spectacular fireworks show that debuted last season during pregame and following UT touchdowns and victories returns in 2022. The dramatic LED light show is also back to accentuate in-game festivities. With a late sunset in September, there will be a halftime light show for Saturday’s contest versus Akron.

Toyota Volunteer Village: Toyota Volunteer Village will highlight a new artist or band each home game with a pregame concert series, providing Vol fans with the ultimate pregame atmosphere. The Powell Brothers will be the featured band for this Saturday’s game.

New this season will be a video wall for fans to check out other games around college football. Admission is free to all fans with or without a game ticket. A new food court debuts, along with appearances by Smokey and the Spirit Squad. Vol Village, located across from Circle Park, serves as the ideal spot to view the Vol Walk and the Pride of Southland Band march. Vol Village opens 3 ½ hours prior to kickoff and will open at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Truly’s Tailgate: Located outside Gate 9, fans can stop by for food and drinks at Truly’s Tailgate. Fans may enter Truly’s prior to gates opening without having a ticket scanned. When gates open, fans will need to scan their ticket to enter Truly’s. New food options this season include Texas Roadhouse and Big Orange Bites. For any game starting later than noon ET, Truly’s will open four hours prior to kickoff. For a noon kickoff, the tailgate will open at 9 a.m. Truly’s will stay open throughout the game, giving fans in the south concourse a variety of food, drinks, television entertainment and additional restroom options. Truly’s will close at the end of the third quarter.

For complete gameday information, visit UTsports.com/gameday.

NEED TO KNOW

Neyland at Night
Friday is the 50th anniversary of the first night game in Neyland Stadium. On Sept. 16, 1972, No. 7 Tennessee topped Joe Paterno’s No. 6 Penn State, 28-21. Saturday’s battle against the Zips will be the second night game for the Vols this season after defeating Ball State, 59-10, in the season opener.
 
Takeaways
Tennessee’s defense has forced multiple turnovers in three straight games dating back to last season. They have collected at least one interception in four straight contests, which is UT’s longest streak since doing it in five consecutive games in 2018. The Vols have recorded four takeaways thus far this season, which ranks tied for fourth in the SEC.

Putting Up Points
A year after setting a school-record for points in a season and becoming the FBS’ most improved offense (No. 7, 39.3 ppg), Tennessee has picked up where it left off. The Vols are averaging 46.5 points per game, which is No. 1 in the SEC and No. 14 in the FBS. UT has put up at least 30 points in five straight games. The Big Orange average 492.5 yards per game of total offense this season, a mark that ranks No. 2 in the SEC and No. 23 in the FBS.

Vols in the Polls
Tennessee is ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 for the second straight week, while making its debut in the AFCA Coaches Poll. The Vols are No. 15 in the AP and No. 16 in the Coaches. It’s UT’s first top-15 ranking since Oct. 4, 2020, when the Vols assumed the No. 14 spot after besting Missouri, 35-12.

Josh Heupel‘s UCF teams were ranked a total of 27 weeks in his three seasons in Orlando. Their highest ranking in the Heupel era was No. 7 when it played in the 2018 AAC Championship Game and then the Fiesta Bowl.

UT holds two wins over top-20 teams in the Heupel era with both coming on the road. The Vols defeated No. 18/17 Kentucky, 45-42, last season in Lexington, and they topped No. 17/14 Pitt, 34-27, in overtime on Sept. 10. That victory was UT’s first over a ranked non-conference opponent on the road since it beat No. 6 Miami, 10-6, on Nov. 8, 2003, in Orange Bowl Stadium.
 
Beasley Bringing the Boom
Senior linebacker Aaron Beasley has been all over the field for the Vols to start the season, leading the team with 22 total tackles and ranking second in the SEC with 11.0 tackles per game. The Georgia native led all players and tied a career high with 14 tackles in Tennessee’s road victory over Pitt last weekend. He also added a tackles for loss, a pass breakup and three quarterback hurries in the win over the Panthers.

SERIES HISTORY

Tennessee leads series, 2-0
Saturday will mark the third meeting between the Vols and Zips. Tennessee earned wins in each of the prior matchups, 47-26 in 2012 and 52-9 in 1989. In those two previous meetings, UT is averaging 610.5 yards of total offense. Akron is the only team the Vols have faced multiple times and are averaging over 600 yards of offense against.

ABOUT AKRON

The Zips are coached by Joe Moorhead, who is in his first season leading the program after previous stops as the offensive coordinator at Oregon (2020-21) and the head coach at Mississippi State (2018-19).  Akron enters Saturday’s game with a 1-1 record following a season-opening win over St. Francis and a road loss to Michigan State.

Redshirt junior quarterbacks DJ Irons and Jeff Undercuffler Jr. split time under center in the Zips loss to the Spartans last weekend. For the year, Irons leads the team with 409 passing yards and two passing touchdowns while adding 44 yards on the ground, as well. Redshirt sophomore running back Cam Wiley leads the team in rushing with 114 yards and two touchdowns on 31 attempts. Senior wide receiver Shocky Jacques-Louis has been Akron’s top target in the passing game with 11 receptions for 153 yards and one touchdown.

Defensively, the Zips are led by redshirt senior defensive lineman Victor Jones, who has racked up 13 tackles and leads the team with four tackles for loss and a sack. Jalen Hooks, Tyson Durant and Zach Morton have all recorded an interception for Akron on the year, as well.

-UT Athletics

Vols DL Omari Thomas / Credit: UT Athletics

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