OPPONENT: Tennessee Volunteers
WHEN: Saturday, October 26th
WHERE: Neyland Stadium (Knoxville, TN)
ALL-TIME SERIES RECORD: Tennessee leads 25-10-2
LAST MEETING: South Carolina beat Tennessee 27-24 in Columbia
2018 RECORD: 5-7 (2-6)
Jeremy Pruitt has been named the 26th head coach of the Tennessee football program.— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) December 7, 2017
Welcome to Rocky Top, Coach Pruitt! 🍊🏈
STORY » https://t.co/umAqTlyJ8D pic.twitter.com/tTDYmtBtXr
Out with the old, in with the new.
That’s exactly what Tennessee did last off-season when it decided to fire Butch Jones and bring in highly successful defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.
Pruitt was solid in year one, picking up two wins over ranked opponents (Auburn and Kentucky) and helping bring stability back to Knoxville.
Now, he looks to build on a top-15 recruiting class and embrace the high expectations of Volunteer fans as UT looks to get back to being a challenger in the SEC East.
- WR Marquez Callaway (Sr.)
- WR Josh Palmer (Jr.)
- WR Jauan Jennings (Sr.)
- LG Jahmir Johnson (Jr.)
- TE Dominick Wood-Anderson (Sr.)
- QB Jarrett Guarantano (Jr.)
- RB Ty Chandler (Jr.)
- OLB Darrell Taylor (Sr.)
- ILB Daniel Bituli (Sr.)
- ILB Darrin Kirkland Jr. (Sr.)
- CB Bryce Thompson (So.)
- CB Baylen Buchanan (Sr.)
- CB Alontae Taylor (So.)
- S Nigel Warrior (Sr.)
How did they fare in 2018?
It was a rough start on Rocky Top a season ago, as the Vols were crushed by West Virginia 40-14 in Charlotte to open the season.
Tennessee’s biggest win of the year came in an upset at Auburn, beating the Tigers 30-24.
However, the Vols lost four of their last six games, finishing 5-7 and missing out on bowl eligibility in Pruitt’s first season.
The game in Columbia, SC came down to the wire, as South Carolina stormed back to steal a win over UT by a final score of 27-24.
Best Returning Player…
81 yards.— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 15, 2018
Untouched. @Vol_Football's Ty Chandler 🏃💨 pic.twitter.com/tEpPtFGf2H
A true “do it all” type player for the Vols.
Chandler led Tennessee in rushing touchdowns (4) and tied for the lead in receiving touchdowns (3) a season ago and will be the focal point of the UT offense yet again.
Chandler has shown great explosiveness out of the backfield and “game breaking” ability in the biggest moments as well.
While there are other playmakers on this Tennessee offense, none are quite as important to the Vols success in 2019 as #8.
Is Tennessee primed for a surprise season in 2019?
Many experts believe so, picking the Vols to win as many as 8+ games in 2019 and push the SEC East’s elite.
Additions of new offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and wide receivers coach Tee Martin have Vols fans optimistic about the future of its offensive production.
Defensively, UT will have to replace all of its production up front from a season ago, losing 150 tackles, nine sacks and 15.5 TFL from last years group.
This fall will mark the 37th meeting between South Carolina and Tennessee, with the Gamecocks winning the last three in a row.
The biggest question is this: can Rocky Top finally end its woes against USC head coach Will Muschamp?
The Vols have never beaten Muschamp, going 0-7 during his stints at both Florida and now Carolina.
While there’s no doubt the Vols will be improved in 2019, this won’t be the year UT fans get the answer they’re hoping for.
2019 SEASON PROJECTION: 7-5 (3-5)