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Tennessee vs Vanderbilt – Match Preview – November 26, 2022

No. 9 Tennessee (9-2, 6-2 SEC) in Vanderbilt (5-6, 2-5), Saturday, 7:30 p.m. EST (SEC Network)

: Tennessee at 14 1/2

Series record: Tennessee leads 78-32-5.

WHAT’S AT Stake?

Tennessee’s shot at a place in the College Football Playoffs is most likely over, but the Volunteers are still enjoying 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 games against state rival Vanderbilt. The Commodores need a win to become Lea Bowlable for the first time since 2018 in coach Clark’s second season. A win would be the Commodores’ third straight win, all against SEC teams. It’s a big turnaround for Vanderbilt after he pulled off a 26-game sled against league competition earlier this month in Kentucky.

KEY COMPARISON

Tennessee was the nation’s best offensive player at 540.4 yards and 46.5 points per game, while ranked second on passing offense with an average of 348.8 yards per game. That was under center with Hendon Hooker, who tore his left cruciate ligament in last week’s loss to South Carolina. The Vols lead the SEC in eight different offensive categories and have a program-record 512 points. Vanderbilt ranks 125th in total defense and 129th in pass defense — just ahead of Tennessee’s 130 in pass defense.

PLAYER TO SEE

Tennessee: QB Joe Milton. This is only his third start for Tennessee and the first since September 11, 2021. Milton, who still has one more year of eligibility, 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 coach but trainer Clark Lea said who starts offers tips on who gives the Commodores the best chance of winning. Wright has had back-to-back SEC wins as the second-leading rusher with five TD runs. Wright has also pitched for 12 TDs and just four interceptions in nine games.

FACTS

Tennessee finishes the regular season with back-to-back road games for the first time since 1939 and only the second time in the SEC era. … The Volunteers are in the top 10 for a ninth straight season, their longest streak since the last nine weeks of the 2001 season. … Coach Josh Heupel may become only the third Tennessee coach in 60 years to do so in his first or second season wins 10 or more games. Phillip Fulmer won 10 games in 1993, and Bill Battle did it in both 1970 and 1971. … Heupel is 8-2 after one loss in his five seasons as head coach. …Tennessee WR Jalin Hyatt leads the nation with 15 TD catches; that’s better than 37 FBS schools. … The Vols have a plus 8 sales margin, ranking 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 FBS this season with four defensive or special teams TDs. … Vanderbilt WR Will Sheppard ranks second in the SEC with nine TD catches. … Ranked second in the SEC and 13th nationally, Vanderbilt is recovering from 10 fumbles this season. … Vanderbilt RB Ray Davis ran for 122 yards in the win over Florida, his fifth 100-yard rushing game and third straight this season. He ranks third in the SEC with 982 rushing yards this season.

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