Tennessee (3-5 | 2-3 SEC) vs. UAB (6-1 | 3-1)
Saturday, November 2nd, 2019 | 6:00pm CT
Knoxville, TN | Neyland Stadium | ESPNU
Knoxville, TN – Tennessee Vols football will look to build off its momentum from a big conference win over South Carolina last week as the Vols welcome UAB to Neyland Stadium for Saturday’s Homecoming game.
This weekend’s contest is set to kick off at 6:00pm CT and will wrap up UT’s 2019 non-conference slate. The Vols (3-5, 2-3 SEC) have won eight straight November non-conference games heading into Saturday’s matchup with the Blazers (6-1, 3-1 C-USA).
Saturday’s contest will be televised on ESPNU with Roy Philpott (PxP), Kelly Stouffer (analyst), and Lauren Sisler (sideline) on the call.
Fans can also listen to Tennessee’s official radio broadcast on the Vol Network (WIVK-FM 107.7) and satellite radio (Sirius Ch. 98, XM Ch. 191, Internet Ch. 962). Bob Kesling (PxP), Tim Priest (analyst) and Brent Hubbs (analyst) will call the action all season long.
Need to Know
96th Homecoming Game
Saturday’s contest will be the 96th Homecoming game in Tennessee football history. The Vols boast an all-time record of 73-19-3 on Homecoming and enter Saturday’s matchup with five straight victories in Homecoming games. Saturday will mark the 103rd Homecoming celebration on Tennessee’s campus. UT’s first Homecoming took place November 11th, 1916.
Career Day for Jennings
Redshirt senior wide receiver Jauan Jennings is having the best season of his UT career. The Murfreesboro, Tennessee, native leads the team with 42 receptions for 652 yards and seven touchdowns. Among SEC players, Jennings ranks fifth in receiving yards, sixth in touchdown receptions and seventh in receptions.
He had a career day during Tennessee’s win over South Carolina last week, registering a career-high 174 receiving yards on a career-high-tying seven catches while also adding a pair of touchdown receptions. Jennings was named the SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts.
His 174 yards receiving were the most by a Tennessee player since Cordarrelle Patterson had 219 against Troy on November 3rd, 2012. It was the most in an SEC game since Denarius Moore had 228 at South Carolina on October 30th, 2010, and was tied for the 10th most receiving yards in program history against an SEC foe.
Jennings currently ranks in the top 10 in program history in receptions (sixth), receiving yards (10th) and touchdown catches (eighth).
UT Vols Rack Up Weekly Honors
Tennessee had three players earn SEC Weekly honors for Week 9, led by Jauan Jennings and Daniel Bituli, who were named SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week and SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Week, respectively. Brandon Kennedy was named SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week as well.
The Vols also had six players earn PFF College SEC Team of the Week honors: QB Jarrett Guarantano, Jennings, Bituli, LB Darrell Taylor, LB Kivon Bennett and DB Nigel Warrior. Jennings, Bituli and Taylor were also named to the PFF College National Team of the Week.
Bituli’s Big Day
Senior linebacker Daniel Bituli registered a season-high 15 tackles during Tennessee’s win over South Carolina, the third-highest single-game tackles total by any SEC player this season. Bituli also blocked a punt and then recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown against the Gamecocks, his second-career touchdown.
The Nashville native has led the Vols in tackles for two straight seasons, making him the 11th player in program history to lead the team in tackles in back-to-back years. Bituli could become just the second player in Tennessee history (A.J. Johnson, 2012-14) to lead the team in tackles for three straight seasons if he were to accomplish the feat again in 2019.
Callaway and Jennings Keeping It 100
In the win over the Gamecocks, Jennings hauled in seven passes for a career-high 174 yards and two touchdowns. Callaway caught three passes for 102 yards and a touchdown. Against No. 3 Georgia on October 5th, Callaway had three catches for 105 yards and a touchdown while Jennings had 114 yards and a score on seven catches.
Jennings now has five career games of 100 or more yards while Callaway has three.
To the Checkerboards
Tennessee’s punt return unit has been the best in the nation this season, recording three touchdown returns and two blocked punts. The Big Orange scored two touchdowns off punt returns in their win over South Carolina last weekend.
UT’s 23 yards per punt return ranks second nationally and leads all Power 5 schools. The Vols two blocked punts for touchdowns marks the first time they have accomplished that feat in a season in at least 50 years. Marquez Callaway leads the country in punt returns with a 21.8 average and scored his third-career punt return touchdown in the win over the Gamecocks.
Series History: UAB
Vols lead series, 4-0
Tennessee has defeated UAB in all four previous meetings, however, two of those games were decided by just one score. The Vols needed double overtime to beat the Blazers in the last matchup between the two teams, as they escaped with a 32-29 victory at Neyland Stadium back in 2010.
UT has hosted UAB three times since 2005, the most of any non-conference opponent in that span. The first-ever meeting between the Vols and Blazers came on Homecoming during Tennessee’s 1998 National Championship season as the Orange and White came out on top, 37-13.
The Blazers are coached by Bill Clark, who is in his fourth year with the program. The Blazers are 31-15 since Clark took over the program and won their first-ever conference championship and bowl game last season. Making those feats even more impressive is the fact that UAB shut down its football program following the 2014 season and did not play again until 2017. The Blazers own a 25-9 record since returning to action in 2017 and are 17-4 over the past two seasons.
UAB is led by a dominant defense that ranks fifth in the FBS in total defense, allowing just 248.6 yards per game on average. The Blazers also rank in the top 15 nationally in passing defense (seventh), rushing defense (eighth) and scoring defense (11th).
Quarterback Tyler Johnston III leads an offense that averages 251.9 yards per game through the air. The redshirt sophomore signal caller has thrown for 1,763 yards and 15 touchdowns so far this season but has also thrown 10 interceptions. Johnston III has a talented group of receivers to throw to in Austin Watkins Jr., Kendall Parham and Myron Mitchell.
The trio has combined for 74 catches, 1,512 receiving yards, 14 touchdown catches and 85.8 percent of the team’s receiving yards this season. Watkins Jr. was added to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List on October 23rd and is coming off back-to-back 100-yard receiving games.
The Blazers feature a running back by committee approach with four players entering Saturday’s contest with 200 or more rushing yards. Spencer Brown leads the group with 262 yards while Lucious Stanley paces the group with five touchdowns.