Tennessee is playing back to back to back road SEC games.
Tennessee is coming off the “Miracle In Athens” last weekend that saw the team score on a Hail Mary with no time left on the clock. Entering this game, the offense has looked sharp at times, however, as a team, the Volunteers have not put together a start to finish game all season long. It has either been a good first half performance or a second half come back.
Tennessee is averaging 174 rushing yards per game and passing for 207 yards per game against opposing defenses. Quarterback Josh Dobbs has shown poise in leading his team to back to back wins over Florida and Georgia. On the year, Dobbs has completed 57% if his passes for 1,035 yards with 13 touchdowns and 6 interceptions.
The Volunteers have been excellent on third down and long situations and come into this game converting 44% of their third down opportunities. The offensive line has allowed 10 sacks through the first five games and must be able to protect Dobbs as he locates receivers down field.
Running back Jalen Hurd leads the team with 407 yards averaging 4.0 yards per carry with 2 touchdowns. Hurd is a powerful runner that can catch the football in short to intermediate routes to take the pressure off of Dobbs to constantly attack opposing secondaries deep.
Wide receivers Josh Malone and Jauan Jennings have combined for 27 receptions for 523 yards with 8 touchdowns. Both players are big targets and will look to attack the Aggies secondary this weekend.
Defensively, Tennessee is allowing 149 rushing yards per game and 211 passing yards per game. The unit is +1 in turnover margin and has held opposing offenses to 34% on their third down situations.
A cause of concern has to be the sack total. Entering this game the unit has recorded 8 sacks through the year and did have 3 in the win against Georgia. However, they will be facing a mobile quarterback in Trevor Knight and must keep him in the pocket.
The Aggies are coming off of a “vanilla” methodical victory over South Carolina 24-13 that saw the running game wear down the Gamecocks front seven later in the game. The Aggies rushed for 216 yards with 3 rushing touchdowns en route to the win and will need that type of effort against Tennessee to pick up the victory.
Texas A&M is averaging 39 points per game and is balanced rushing for 258 yards on the ground and passing for 262 yards through the air. Quarterback Trevor Knight is doing a great job of playing within the system and has shown maturity of when to tuck the football and run instead of forcing throws into coverage. On the year, Knight is completing 54% of his passes for 1,261 yards with 7 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.
Knight’s mobility outside the pocket has taken the pressure off of the offensive line and has opened up running lanes for freshman running back Trayveon Williams. Williams leads the team with 487 rushing yards with averaging 9.0 yards per carry with 4 touchdowns.
Texas A&M’s offensive line has only allowed 5 sacks and the ability of Williams and Knight has made this unit gel as the season has progressed.
The Aggies boast one of the best wide receiver corps in the country in Christian Kirk, Ricky Seals-Jones, Josh Reynolds and Speedy Noil. The group has combined for 69 receptions for 930 yards with 7 touchdowns. They all have the ability to take the top off of the defense and have great hands to catch the football at the highest point.
Defensively, the Aggies defense has started to gel in year two of defensive coordinator John Chavis’s scheme. The unit is giving up 15 points per game and has been great in run support allowing 134 yards on the ground. The secondary is giving up 253 yards per game, however, the team has done an excellent job in red zone defense along with third downs. On the year, the Aggies are holding opposing offenses to 33% on their third down attempts.
Texas A&M has recorded 16 sacks through the first five games with star defensive ends Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall combining for a total of 6 (three each). Look for Texas A&M to blitz early on to force Dobbs to make decisions underneath coverage.
Chavis loves to blitz and look for safety Armani Watts to be utilized to spy on Dobbs in this game. Watts is a physical safety that can run sideline to sideline to make plays. He is very physical at the point of attack and has a tendency to force turnovers.
Texas A&M is +2 in turnover margin entering this game.
TUNE INTO THE FULL PREVIEW OF THIS GAME THIS SATURDAY FROM 10-12PM ON: