NCAA Football

No. 9 Tennessee is looking at a 10-win season on the road at Vanderbilt

No. 9 Tennessee is looking at a 10-win season on the road at Vanderbilt

#9 Tennessee (9-2, 6-2 SEC) at Vanderbilt (5-6, 2-5), Saturday, 7:30 pm EST (SEC Network)


Series Record: Tennessee leads 78-32-5.


Tennessee’s chance for a College Football Playoff berth is likely gone, but the Volunteers can still post the program’s first 10-win regular season since 2003. (Tennessee hasn’t won 10 games in a season since 2007.) The Vols have won three straight against in-state rival Vanderbilt. The Commodores need a win to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2018 in coach Clark Lee’s second season. The win would be the third straight for the Commodores, all against SEC teams. It’s a big turnaround for Vanderbilt after snapping a 26-game skid against league competition earlier this month at Kentucky.


Tennessee was the nation’s leading rusher with 540.4 yards and 46.5 points per game while ranking second in passing yards, averaging 348.8 yards per game. That was with Handon Hooker, who tore his left ACL in last week’s loss to South Carolina, at center. The Vols lead the SEC in eight different offensive categories and scored a program-record 512 points. Vanderbilt ranks 125th in total defense and 129th in pass defense — 130 ahead of Tennessee’s pass defense.


Tennessee: QB Joe Milton. It will be just his third start for Tennessee and first since Sept. 11, 2021. Milton, who has one year remaining, is 23 of 33 for 573 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions off the bench.

Vanderbilt: QB Mike Wright. Freshman AJ Swann is expected to practice, but coach Clark Lee said who starts hints at who gives the Commodores the best chance to win. Wright’s streak is tied for second in the SEC with five TD runs. Wright also threw 12 TDs and just four interceptions in nine games.


For the first time since 1939 and just the second time in the SEC era, Tennessee is closing out the regular season with road games. …The Volunteers are in the top 10 for the ninth consecutive week, their longest stretch since the final nine weeks of the 2001 season. … Coach Josh Heupel could become just the third Tennessee coach in 60 years to win 10 or more games in his first or second season. Phillip Fulmer won 10 games in 1993, and Bill Battle did it in 1970 and 1971. … Heupel is 8-2 after a loss in five seasons as a head coach. … Tennessee WR Jalin Hyatt leads nation with 15 TD catches; that’s better than 37 FBS schools. … The Vols have a plus-8 turnover margin, which ranks first in the SEC and 11th in the FBS. … Vanderbilt has won back-to-back SEC games for the first time since 2018. … Vanderbilt leads the SEC and ranks third in the FBS with four defensive or special teams TDs this season. … Vanderbilt WR Will Sheppard ranks second in SEC with nine TD catches. … Vanderbilt is tied for second in the SEC and 13th nationally with 10 fumble recoveries this season. … Vanderbilt RB Ray Davis ran for 122 yards in win over Florida, his fifth 100-yard game and third straight this season. He ranks third in the SEC with 982 yards this season.


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