Tennessee (2-6) at Vanderbilt (0-8)
Saturday, December 12th, 2020 | 3:00pm CT
Nashville, TN | Vanderbilt Stadium | TV: SEC Network
Knoxville, TN – With only two regular-season games remaining, Tennessee will look to finish the year strong as the Vols head west to Nashville for a Saturday, December 14th showdown with in-state rival Vanderbilt at 3:00pm CT.
The Vols are looking to make it two straight wins over the Commodores after a 28-10 victory inside Neyland Stadium last season.
Saturday’s game will be broadcast on the SEC Network with Taylor Zarzour (PxP), Matt Stinchcomb (analyst) and Dawn Davenport (sideline) calling the action.
Fans can also listen to Tennessee’s official radio broadcast on the Vol Network (WIVK-FM 107.7/WNML-FM 99.1) and satellite radio (XM Ch. 386, Internet Ch. 976). A live audio stream of the broadcast will also be available on UTSports.com? and the Official Gameday App.
Bob Kesling (PxP), Tim Priest (analyst) and Brent Hubbs (analyst) will call the action, with Kasey Funderburg handling sideline duties. The “Kickoff Call-In Show” begins at 1:30pm CT.
UT Passing Attack
Tennessee has thrown for over 240 yards in back-to-back games for the first time since the final two games of the 2016 season – 340 at Vanderbilt and 291 vs. Nebraska in the Music City Bowl. It’s the first time the feat has happened in back-to-back conference games since 2014 – 301 at South Carolina and 297 vs. Kentucky. Vol quarterbacks have not thrown an interception in their last 51 combined attempts dating back to the third quarter of the Auburn game.
In their last two games combined, the Vols have completed 49-of-70 pass attempts (70%) for 482 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman Harrison Bailey and redshirt sophomore J.T. Shrout both threw for over 110 yards and had a touchdown pass in last week’s contest against No. 6 Florida. Shrout led the Vols on two 90-plus yard scoring drives in the fourth quarter.
TFLs for To’o To’o
After a freshman All-America campaign in 2019, sophomore linebacker Henry To’o To’o leads the Vols in tackles (53) and tackles for loss (9.5) this season. He is tied for second in the SEC in tackles for loss and has multiple TFLs in four games this season, including a career-best 2.5 TFLs last Saturday against No. 6 Florida.
He has produced at least 2.0 TFLs in four out of his last six games.
Gray Gashing Defenses
Talented sophomore running back Eric Gray has gone over 100 yards rushing four times this season. He is third in the SEC in that category. Gray ranks seventh in the SEC in total rushing yardage (698) and yards per game (87.25). He also ranks seventh in all-purpose yards per game (120.5) and 13th in rushing touchdowns (four).
During the month of November, Gray averaged 148.0 yards per game on the ground, which led the SEC and ranked sixth in the FBS. In his last 10 games dating back to last year’s Vanderbilt game, Gray is averaging 103.0 yards per game on the ground.
With 100-plus yards against Arkansas and Auburn, Gray became the first Vol with back-to-back 100-yard rushing games since John Kelly in 2017 (141 vs. Florida, 101 vs. UMass), and he was the first to do it in back-to-back conference games since Joshua Dobbs in 2016 (147 vs. Kentucky, 190 vs. Missouri). Gray is also the Vols’ leader in receptions with 29 on the year, a mark that ranks fourth among SEC running backs.
The Memphis native had a breakout performance in last year’s contest against Vanderbilt, scoring three touchdowns while rushing for 246 yards against the Commodores, the most by a true freshman in Tennessee history and the fifth-most in a single game in program history. His 246-yard performance was the most by a running back in the SEC in 2019.
Trey Smith Making Most of Senior Season
Offensive guard Trey Smith elected to return for his senior season. Smith has played in 40 career games with 39 starts, including 20 straight starts at left guard. Last season, he did not allow a sack in 758 snaps, and he has allowed only one sack in 563 snaps this season.
CBSSports.com projects him as an NFL first round pick. Smith fulfilled his promise to his late mother, Dorsetta, by obtaining his degree this month in recreation and sports management.
Tennessee-Vanderbilt Series History
Vols lead series, 76-32-5
Saturday will mark the 114th meeting in the series between the Vols and Commodores. The two teams have played every year since 1945. Tennessee has dominated the series and captured 31 of the last 37 meetings, however, Vanderbilt has had a fair amount of success in recent years, winning five of the previous eight contests. The Big Orange snapped a three-game losing streak to the Commodores with a 28-10 victory last season and will be looking to earn their first win in Nashville since 2014.
About the Vanderbilt Commodores
The Commodores will be led by interim head coach Todd Fitch after Derek Mason was let go following the team’s 41-0 loss to Missouri two weeks ago. This will be Fitch’s first game serving as head coach after Vandy had their scheduled game at Georgia postponed last weekend due to low player numbers because of injuries and COVID-19. VU is still looking to notch its first win of the season.
Despite their 0-8 record, the Commodores seem to have found their quarterback of the future in true freshman Ken Seals. The Texas native has 1,689 passing yards and 10 touchdown passes this season. He has also posted three 300-plus yard passing games. Seals has spread the ball around to a host of receivers, led by junior Cam Johnson, who leads the team with 49 catches for 481 yards and two touchdowns.
The duo of Chris Pierce Jr. (five) and Ben Bresnahan (three) have combined for eight touchdown catches, as well. Sophomore running back Keyon Henry-Brooks has received the majority of the carries with 100 rushing attempts for 438 yards and two touchdowns on the year. Defensively, sophomore linebacker Anfernee Orji leads the team with 53 tackles.